Oil and gas industry’s R&D spending expected to rise next year

Lloyd's Register Energy recently surveyed a group of industry professionals, academics and other stakeholders about their expectations for the sector's research and development spending in 2015. More than one out of three respondents said they expect to see an increase of at least 10 percent.

The company announced the results of the survey at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, which attracted a record-breaking crowd of more than 108,000 visitors and participants this year. The oil and gas industry's commitment to innovation was on display at the conference, with thousands of exhibitors presenting information about the latest technologies that improve the safety and efficiency of offshore drilling operations.

New technologies will be critical to meeting oil and gas demand

In a press release discussing the survey results, John Wishart, president of Lloyd's Register Energy, said the survey results provide a reason to "expect strong growth for technology," which will help the industry adapt to changing circumstances.

"With emission regulations and rising energy costs, the Oil and Gas sector will benefit from a clearer understanding of the potential innovation scenarios to meet future energy demands and providing robust energy supply," Wishart said. "While technology is moving ahead faster than regulation, society and governments are becoming more demanding in their expectations from regulators, and engineering systems have become more complicated and integrated."

More complex equipment may require more frequent service from a CNC machine shop to prevent downtime and ensure a return on investment. Lloyd's found that improving operational efficiency and safety and reducing expenses are among the top goals oil and gas companies hope to reach through their R&D investments. Specifically, the results showed companies are focused on achieving "breakthrough innovation" that would increase equipment uptime and improve production efficiency.

"The current findings underline that new technology is not a barrier," Wishart added. "It is seen as the catalyst for a better performing oil and gas sector and a competitive necessity among the key operators."

The results indicated that in addition to developing and purchasing new technologies, companies will seek to expand their capabilities through more joint ventures, partnerships and acquisitions in the future. Lloyd's suggested that a collaborative approach to development–one that spreads the costs between different stakeholders–will be necessary to meet the world's growing energy needs, as developing deepwater reservoirs and other unconventional energy resources remains a costly and risky endeavor.

Engineers combining 'human factors' with traditional engineering disciplines

During one technical session at OTC, panelists discussed how integrating "human behavioral and physical capabilities" into the design of offshore engineering projects can improve safety and efficiency, according to the Oil and Gas Journal. One speaker noted that "there has been a gradual shift" toward Human Factors Engineering in the U.S. maritime sector, although it needs to be considered as an aspect of a larger system for ensuring safety and efficiency.

As oil and gas companies deploy new equipment in their operations, they will need a reliable provider of CNC machining services to provide any replacement parts they need. Windham Manufacturing can fabricate custom parts based on customers' specific needs. With a central location in Dallas, Texas, we can offer economical shipping to oil and gas companies and equipment manufacturers operating in the Gulf and other regions of the United States.