By Daniel Hunter

Thirteen small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are to share government funding of around £1 million for innovative feasibility studies that aim to accelerate the development and introduction of new technologies likely to enhance production and asset reliability within the oil and gas sector.

The grant funding has been awarded to the companies by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.

“Investment in innovation is important to help prolong the life of the UK’s hydrocarbon reservoirs and increase the global competitiveness of the UK oil and gas sector," the Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Iain Gray, said.

"Supporting SMEs capable of high growth, working with other companies in the oil and gas sector, will help to maximise UK assets, assist in sustaining a strong supply chain, and help in supplying global markets.”

The SMEs awarded the funding are: Cybula Ltd, Exilica Ltd, Geothermal Anywhere Ltd, Industrial Tomography Systems plc, LUX Innovate Ltd, M Squared Lasers Ltd (2 projects), Paradigm Flow Services, Process Asset Integration and Management Ltd, Sciencesoft Ltd, Smart Component Technologies Ltd, Smart Reamer Drilling Systems Ltd, Transvac Systems Ltd and WFS Technologies Ltd.

The companies supported through this government investment have technologies that they believe could provide innovation and added value to the oil and gas sector, but they require technical feasibility studies to support their business case.

The short-term feasibility studies relate to innovations such as, for example:

- Novel technology for high efficiency separation of oil and water;
- The testing of innovative technology for monitoring produced water for reinjection;
- Disruptive remote sensing for offshore asset integrity and leak detection;
The use of advanced imaging technology for surveillance of offshore oil and gas assets;
- Smart fasteners and intelligent valves;
- Boosting chemical enhanced oil recovery efficiency using advanced slow release micro-particle technology.

Successful studies should help to anchor and develop the oil and gas supply chain in the UK to deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth in the long term. It is expected that projects will, through further development, be able to deliver cost reduction and efficiency improvements while contributing to environmental sustainability.

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