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Cost reduction, environmental preparedness and increased recovery:

Largest allocation to petroleum projects in a decade

The Research Council of Norway’s Large-scale Programme for Petroleum Research (PETROMAKS2) recently awarded NOK 275 million in funding to 40 new research projects.

Twenty-three of the 40 grants are Knowledge-building Projects for Industry or Researcher Projects, while 13 are Innovation Projects for the Industrial Sector. The remaining four are Research Institution-based Strategic Projects to strengthen Norwegian-Brazilian cooperation on petroleum research.

The bulk of this funding has been allocated to projects addressing major challenges in the petroleum industry such as the need to reduce costs, develop technological solutions for increased recovery and improve preparedness as Norwegian petroleum activities advance into the Arctic.

“I’m looking forward to the concrete results this funding will generate, and I’m certain this funding will go far towards resolving these key challenges,” says Per Gerhard Grini, chair of the PETROMAKS2 programme board.

grini malme Per Gerhard Grini, chair of the PETROMAKS2 programme board, and programme coordinator Tarjei N. Malme.

High quality led to extra grants

“The grant applications under this call for proposals were of extremely high quality,” affirms programme coordinator Tarjei N. Malme.

In light of this, the PETROMAKS2 programme board seized the opportunity to expand the call’s original funding framework. The list of approved grants includes projects addressing all five thematic priority areas in the PETROMAKS2 work programme, as well as projects specifically designed to develop research cooperation between Norway and Brazil.

Priority to environmental technology

From an environmental standpoint, Norwegian petroleum activities are well regarded internationally. Research involving environmental preparedness is given high priority, and will become even more important as petroleum activities increasingly expand farther north. The industry must also invest more in energy-efficient offshore solutions in order to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. These factors weighed heavily in deciding which projects to fund.

Sample project

The company Ecotone AS was awarded a grant to develop an advanced camera that can be integrated into existing procedures for mapping and monitoring of seabed habitats. The technology will raise efficiency and reliability over current methods and will be used to chart the presence and health of seabed organisms.

Everyone is talking about drilling and well technology

New drilling and well technology is often pointed to as a means of reducing the rising costs of activities on the continental shelf. This technology is also important for increased recovery and managing the environmental challenges of well closure. Allocations in this funding round reflect these aims.

Sample project

The Norwegian company Interwell Technology AS has been granted funding to develop a groundbreaking new concept for a permanent deep-set well barrier plug that can be set without using a rig. The concept will radically change the way old wells are closed and removed. Under this method both the feed pipelines and production pipelines are melted by means of a reaction that releases heat energy, and the melted material mass can then be used as a permanent barrier plug.

Taking education seriously

Competence-building and education are important priorities for publicly funded petroleum research in Norway. Project allocations in this funding round will provide partial funding for 43 research fellows and for research-based training. The projects will encompass a large number of master’s students.

Sample project

The project “Integration of Seismic, Well and Production Data Constrained by Physical/Geological Models” at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) deals with reservoir characterisation. The project will incorporate four doctoral students and integrate 12 master’s students into research activities.

Written by:
Dafina Shala/Else Lie. Translation: Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann
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