ITF reports successful 2008, poneys up £9 million for 2009

UK-based fund backs spin-outs from several UK universities and software start-ups.

The UK-based Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) reports an ‘exceptional’ 2008 and is back in 2009 with more support for innovative technologies that address the challenge of maximizing the hydrocarbon recovery from the UK Continental Shelf. The ITF is a not for profit organization owned by 21 majors and service companies. The ITF is now inviting proposals for solutions that enhance reservoir understanding and development, in particular with low cost technologies for production enhancement, water control and chemical technologies.

2008 saw nine new technology implementations, 29 joint industry projects launched, £9.4 million of funding secured and 5 field trial projects launched. ITF MD Neil Poxon said, ‘The key to ITF’s success is the delivery of high quality, innovative projects that address our member’s needs. During 2008 we worked to strengthen our facilitation process, ensuring that it offers value to our members—so that we can help to address the big issues and unearth solutions that would not be developed without a collaborative industry effort.’

An example of the ITF’s 2008 successes is the COFFERS project carried out by Edinburgh University. COFFERS is a statistical reservoir model that uses correlations between injectors and producers to calibrate faults and fractures that impact production. The software is now commercially available and the university has undertaken its first North Sea contract. Another example comes from Rockfield which used an ITF grant to develop geomechanics software to model fractures and faulting. Sponsors are already using Rockfield’s software in their field studies. Two other projects address flow assurance: Heriot Watt’s hydrate monitoring and early warning system, now commercialized through a university spin off, Hydrafact, and Manchester University’s Acoustek package. This uses acoustic technology to detect blockages and leaks in gas pipelines at distances of up to 10km.

R&D themes for 2009 include carbonate reservoirs, long tie-backs, imaging in challenging environments, corrosion mitigation, well intervention and data communications. An idea of the amount of support available comes from the £5 million ‘indicative investment’ allocated by the Trustee Savings Bank. More from

Please note the following correction that appeared in the February 2009 edition of Oil IT Journa to the above article.

Folks at the Industry Technology Facilitator were understandably upset when we referred to them as the ‘Industry Task Force’ in our January ‘Folks, Facts’ section. In the same issue we also made multiple errors in our article ‘ITF reports successful 2008.’ We received the following corrections from ITF. ‘ITF is a not for profit organization therefore the phrase “ITF poneys up £9 million” is inaccurate. ITF facilitates technology development by securing funding from its members. Also, as a global organization, ITF’s remit and objectives go far beyond the UK. Finally, the RFP for solutions to enhance reservoir understanding and development was not an ITF call. It was made by the TSB [the Technology Strategy Board—not as we gaffed, the Trustee Savings Bank!]. ITF was merely supporting the TSB to promote their event to developers.’ Our abject apologies to ITF and the TSB!

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