Chloe Potter (moderator), Kristin M. Flornes (Senior Vice President, IRIS), Arvid Hallén (CEO, The Research Council of Norway), Alexandra Bech Gjørv (CEO and President, SINTEF) and Gary Martin (Director of Partnerships, NASA Ames Research Center). Photo: IRIS

- Joining forces to innovate


Only by joining forces, sharing knowledge and looking into each other's tool boxes can the industry move forward. This was the clear message from Kristin M. Flornes while speaking at ONS Centre Court August 30th.

Flornes points out that the industry is conservative, and lags behind others when it comes to implementing new technology. Her message is that challenging times calls for creative collaboration, working together differently and thinking outside the box.

- The fast development in other industries over the last decades has made it even more important to collaborate, Flornes stated.
The power of sharing
Flornes' passion for innovation came across as she told the story of when she first realised the power of different research fields working together to solve a problem.

During work with her master thesis she was supervised by professor Alex Grossmann. The mathematician was one of the scientists who developed the wavelets transform a few years earlier. He and his friend, a geophysicist, did so by combining knowledge about seismic data and mathematics.

- As always with great inventions, they didn't see the range of their invention. Today it's used to everything from music to describing turbulence behind the wings of a plane, to signal and image processing, she said.

Watch the presentation here.

A lot to gain in drilling automation
Cutting drilling costs is one of the biggest challenges faced by the industry. Together with partners IRIS is working to move away from traditional drilling with heavy machinery and largely manual labour.

But automation alone isn’t enough. Flornes stresses that in addition to equipment, we also need reliable data and software to automate the drilling process, and we need to take advantage of all the data collected.

- Today, companies have their own data formats and their own proprietary tools for describing the conditions in the wells. The tools do not communicate.
- We need to think differently about openness and sharing. We need to develop standard data formats and share data, she said.

Collaborating to recover more
Another area where with great potential is enhanced oil recovery, as less than half of the resources are used today. Through the National IOR centre of Norway and DrillWell, IRIS is collaborating with the University of Stavanger and several research and industry partners to recover more oil.

To predict how chemicals and smart water can be used to extract more oil, a lot of lab experiments are carried out.

- But we need good simulation tools and real data to predict what happens at field scale. Access to data is important. If an oil company has done a chemical injection pilot somewhere in the world, scientist can use the data to improve simulation tools, Flornes emphasises.

Looking outside the industry
It's not only within the industry one needs to search for collaborators. Flornes encouraging also looking outside the industry for collaborators, pointing to Pumps and Pipes. In Norway Pumps and Pipes researchers from the oil industry work together with researchers from medicine.

- We suggest using filters developed for characterization of oil reservoir in treatment of cancer patients. Blood flow in the brain is similar to oil flowing in the underground reservoir. For a mathematician the differences in size is just a matter of scaling.
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