Spotlight on R&D - JPT Article Series
Arnis Judzis, TerraTek; A. Dan Hill, Texas A&M U.; Roland Horne, Stanford U.; Raj Raghavan; Stephen Willson and Ken Armagost, BP; Joseph A. Ayoub, Schlumberger; Carl T. Montgomery, ConocoPhillips; Stuart L. Scott, Texas A&M U.; William H. Higgs, Mustang Engineering L.P.; John Candler and Monica Norman, M-I Swaco; and Jeff Spath, Schlumberger
Compilation of a series of articles published in the Journal of Petroleum Technology between January 2004 and May 2005.
2005. Society of Petroleum Engineers
In 2002, SPE highlighted the importance of creating technology for oil and gas extraction through the formation of the R&D Advisory Committee. The committee’s aim is to foster the continuing development of petroleum engineering technology through collaborations of academia, industry, and government groups worldwide. Included was the introduction of “performance metrics” for this effort and the desire to ensure that the value—financialand otherwise—of R&D to the oil and gas industry receives much greater attention.
A major impetus for the committee’s activities has been the decline in research activity among major operating companies and the perception that this decline has not only decreased the direct research efforts of these companies but also reduced their participation in collaborative research activities with academia, government laboratories, and private research companies.
The need for continued collaborative research efforts is clear, at least from the academic side. For example, in the 2002–03 academic year, industry provided about 42% of the total external funding at the U. of Texas Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Dept. At the U. of Tulsa, industry funding during the same period accounted for 54% of external research funding. The continuing health of petroleum engineering departments and other research providers throughout the world depends on such support from industry collaborators.
The R&D Advisory Committee chose to adddress the current state of industry R&D through a series of articles in JPT that highlight current R&D activities under way in academia, in government laboratories, and in industry. The articles also attempt to identify the areas of most pressing need for future research.
These JPT articles, published between January 2004 and May 2005, focus on the SPE technical disciplines of Drilling and Completions; Facilities and Construction; Health, Safety, and Environment; Management and Information; Production and Operations; and Reservoir Description and Dynamics, with each article written by recognized research leaders in these fields. The authors were asked to present some recent success stories that show the value of new technology development and to predict the R&D needs of the future in their areas.
A theme common to R&D endeavors in the six disciplines is an emphasis on economic benefit. Many of the successful R&D projects reviewed were relatively short-term, with clearly identifiable economic returns resulting. The longer-term efforts described have less clear definition and higher risk, but with potential economic returns that are substantial enough to be attractive, even in light of the risks. R&D is an astute investment.
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