Offshore Renewable Energy technology and innovation centre

The establishment of a UK centre of excellence to support the development and commercialisation of offshore renewable energy technologies across the country drew closer today as the Technology Strategy Board ( announced that it is seeking expressions of interest from organisations that might lead or form part of a new Offshore Renewable Energy technology and innovation centre.

Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable said: “An offshore renewable energy technology and innovation centre is the next step towards fulfilling the Government’s commitment to creating a greener economy.  The UK is a world leader in offshore engineering and our reputation makes us an excellent location for research in this area.  It is vital we invest in renewable energy now to gain maximum benefits in the future.  This is an exciting opportunity to bid and become involved in supporting the growth of the UK economy.”

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “The Government’s continued investment in technology and innovation centres will make sure the UK stays at the forefront of global innovation and technology.  The centres will play a vital part of   the UK’s future innovation landscape and enable world leading businesses to emerge.

“There is huge potential for growth in the sector and the prospect to generate billions of pounds for the economy whilst creating thousands of job opportunities at the same time.”

Announcing the opening of the process to establish the centre, Iain Gray, the Technology Strategy Board’s Chief Executive, said: “Our reputation and expertise in offshore engineering makes the UK an excellent base for innovation relevant to the emerging offshore renewable energy sector.  By bringing forward technologies for offshore wind, wave and tidal power, the centre will accelerate commercialisation across the sector.  It will pull together UK strengths in research, design, offshore engineering and device/component development.  Innovation could accelerate large-scale, commercial deployment in all aspects of offshore renewables and, crucially, reduce the cost of energy generated.”

The Offshore Renewable Energy centre will be the third of a network of technology and innovation centres to be established by the Technology Strategy Board, with a government investment of more than £200 million over the next four years.  The first two centres announced relate to high value manufacturing and cell therapies.  The centres will be drivers of future economic growth, attracting substantial investment to establish world-leading capability and global impact in pre-commercial development.

The Offshore Renewable Energy technology and innovation centre will provide improved access to the best technical expertise, infrastructure, skills and equipment, including those scarce resources which companies, particularly small ones, can seldom afford alone.  It will provide a national focus for joint work between businesses and the research base, creating a critical mass of activity which will benefit the wider offshore renewable energy sector, and beyond.  The centre will attract work and engagement from a wide cross-section of industry ranging from multinationals to small businesses, and will work closely with the best universities and technology organisations in the UK and internationally.

The centre is likely to cover the range of technologies involved in offshore wind power development – transferring knowledge from the established offshore engineering industry into foundations, installation, connection, operations and maintenance but also into developing turbines, blades and other subsystems/components, where links with the UK’s lead in high-value manufacturing technologies such as composites, direct drive and control systems may help drive success in these areas.

Marine power – wave and tidal – is further behind wind in terms of its development and deployment but will also be a key focus of the centre, drawing as it does on many of the same underpinning science and engineering capabilities.  Over time, the expertise of the centre could also be applied to other areas of offshore energy technology.

The deadline for registration is 25 August 2011 and organisations must submit their expressions of interest by 1 September 2011.  Selected organisations will then be invited to submit full proposals, by 17 November 2011.  The successful bidders will be announced in December 2011 and the centre will begin operations in the summer of 2012.

Detailed information about the call for expressions of interest can be accessed at: ORE document.


Oil well performance monitor in North sea

Honeywell has announced that Ithaca Energy (UK) has selected the digitally enabled Well Performance Monitor(WPM) from the Advanced Solutions business of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) to manage the operational performance of its new Athena oilfield in the North Sea. The agreement illustrates the growing adoption of digital oil field management technology among the leaders in global oil and gas operators.

The Athena Field – which is expected to produce approximately 22,000 barrels of oil per day when it comes into production – is a joint venture between Ithaca Energy, Dyas UK, EWE and Zeus Petroleum. Ithaca Energy is the operator of the project.

The HPS WPM, powered by Matrikon, will be used to monitor as well as optimize production from the new field while maintaining the safety and integrity of its operations.

“Honeywell’s Well Performance Monitor matched our requirements perfectly,” said Marco Peña, operations petroleum engineer at Ithaca Energy.  “It was cost effective and easy to implement – literally out of the box. But the real value is in what it delivers: allowing us to have the system up and running before the facility is operational is a huge plus, as is giving us access to real-time information, to pinpoint underperforming wells and, last but not least, help improve collaboration throughout the team.”

Using WPM, Ithaca Energy’s engineers can monitor how their wells are performing compared to their expectations, while visual models will predict what each well is capable of producing. The solution extracts summary information and key performance indicators from real-time process data historians, production databases and engineering well models, allowing operators to visualize field performance data and manage equipment assets. Engineers can see where the shortfalls in production are occurring and take immediate steps to correct them, and so maximize the production potential of each well.  WPM will also help personnel to manage the costs of surveillance, identify abnormal situations quickly and react faster to disturbances.

“Ithaca Energy is a rapidly expanding North Sea operator, and the Athena field is an important asset in its growing portfolio,” said Joel Chacon, Solution Consultant with the HPS Advanced Solutions business. “Production processes at the site must be top-notch while the safety, reliability and efficiency of people and assets are paramount. As we have done for other WPM users, we can help Ithaca Energy spend less time gathering data and more time ensuring they meet their operational objectives.”

Ithaca Energy will be served by the Aberdeen-based Advanced Solutions support team of HPS, which is closely involved in the development of WPM.