The 50th annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston brings innovators pushing the boundaries of offshore oil and gas exploration. As a corporate sponsor, Saudi Aramco by sharing technical advances and breakthrough research and development to address the industry’s most pressing challenges.
Representatives from Saudi Aramco and U.S. subsidiary, Aramco Services Company (ASC) presented technical papers. Topics included material advancement, cost effective chemical solutions for sustainable production and nanotechnology innovations for offshore drilling.
Researchers from the Aramco Research Center—Houston offered a look at advances in production technology, detailing projects and initiatives at the exhibition booth.
“Having our research featured within the technical program was rewarding and illustrated the progress we have made at the Houston Center,” said Ashraf Altahini, ASC R&D Director.
Houston Focused on Upstream R&D
Houston is the home to Aramco’s largest R&D facility focused on upstream outside of Saudi Arabia. Some of the fast-track technology and research advances made with colleagues in Dhahran and throughout Aramco’s global R&D network are now deployed or in field trials in Saudi Arabia.
This year’s theme “Going the Distance” illustrated resilience and adaptability as deep-water offshore looks toward recovery with new field development and long-awaited projects authorized in the Gulf of Mexico. Interestingly, the rebound in oil prices has spurred activity among on-shore U.S. oil and gas shale drillers and some participants didn’t miss the opportunity to showcase products and services designed for unconventionals. A panel discussion with executives from a cross section of industry addressed the topic of energy transformation, renewables and the call for carbon reduction.
Aramco Honored With Industry Awards
Researchers from Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC) were honored with two prestigious meritorious engineering awards from Hart Energy during the conference.
The first award recognized Saudi Aramco’s contribution to health, safety and the environment with its CO2 EOR and Sequestration Project with a Comprehensive Monitoring Program. Carbon capture and sequestration is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from large sources storing it underground where it will not be vented to the atmosphere. The project is part of Saudi Aramco’s corporate carbon management strategy to proactively address global environmental challenges.
Launched in 2015, the carbon dioxide is captured at a natural gas liquids (NGL) plant and then piped 85 kilometers to the injection site.
The second award was for DrillCam, an integrated real-time system for imaging and predicting ahead of the drill bit and around the well. It uses multi-physics measurements, both downhole and on the surface, to produce a real-time image surrounding the drill bit similar to what the doctor sees while operating an ultrasound. The DrillCam system enables controlled geosteering through the reservoir’s pay zones as well as prediction of lost circulation and hazardous drilling zones, which have a huge business impact on discovery, recovery, and cost efficiency.
During the conference, an agreement between Research Products Development Company (RPDC) and Teledyne Marine was signed to commercialize customized new technologies developed within Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco is a founding member of RPDC. The agreement awarded a development contract to integrate a unique sensor design developed by Saudi Aramco into a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). The ROV’s robotic system, known as “SWIM-R,” stands for “shallow water inspection and monitoring robot.” It operates wirelessly in shallow waters up to 10 meters deep to enhance pipeline inspection speed and efficiency while minimizing safety hazards.
Visitors learned about Aramco as a company committed to the environment and the communities it serves around the globe with support for Houston not-for-profits like the Galveston Bay Foundation and disaster relief support and volunteerism during Hurricane Harvey.