Consortium corner

GE joins Fire and Blast Group. Flotek’s nanotech R&D. ABB’s subsea factory. LANL’s wireless motes.

GE Oil and Gas has joined the UK-based Fire and blast information group (Fabig). Fabig, set up following the Piper Alpha disaster, provides research and design guidance on fire and explosion engineering. Fabig’s interim guidance notes (IGN) are now used in the design of most of the UKCS North Sea projects. Fabig, which has over 100 corporate members in 16 countries, is lead by project manager Guillaume Vannier of the Steel Construction Institute where he developed an audit software tool for integrity management of safety critical elements on offshore installations.

Houston-based Flotek Industries is to sponsor applied research at Texas A&M University to investigate the impact of nanotechnology on non conventional oil and gas production. The research addresses the oil recovery potential of ‘nanofluids’ and surfactants under subsurface pressure and temperature conditions of liquids-rich shales.

Flotek president John Chisholm said, ‘Nanofluids have enhanced production from tight formations. A better understanding of the interaction between chemistry, geology and of the physical properties of nanofluids in the completion process will enhance unconventional completions.’ More from Flotek.

ABB and Statoil have initiated a joint industry program to develop a ‘subsea factory’ of deepwater power and control technologies. The $100 million R&D program encompasses solutions for transmission, distribution and power conversion systems designed to power and control subsea pumps and gas compressors at depths of 3,000 meters and over vast distances. The agreement is said to be ‘an important step on the path to develop complete subsea oil and gas producing facilities.’

The five year program sets out to develop technologies for the large-scale subsea pumping and gas-compression projects that are planned for the Norwegian continental shelf, the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. The aim is to provide up to 100 megawatts over a distance of 600 km at up to 3,000m water depth through a single 36kilovolt cable. More from ABB.

Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) has announced a novel wireless sensor network, webs of sensory devices a.k.a. ‘motes,’ that function without a central infrastructure. Project manager Sami Ayyorgun believes that motes will ‘rival the impact that the Internet has made in our lives.’ One use case envisioned is ‘monitoring miles of gas and oil pipelines stretching across arid land for ruptures, damage, and tampering.’ Under the hood is a technology based on a ‘self-organizing stochastic communications paradigm.’

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