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RED contract could change downhole drilling technology

Reduced drilling costs and reduced environmental footprint for the drilling industry could be the result of a new multi million pound research and development programme based on University of Aberdeen technology.

Chris Brown (left) and Professor C Duncan Rice, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of AberdeenThe University's School of Engineering has agreed a major research contract with ITI Energy for the first phase of the groundbreaking research programme. The total programme could be worth up to £4.6m and will involve a number of companies and institutions.

Resonance Enhanced Drilling (RED) could significantly reduce wellbore creation time in hard formations and deliver the capability to drill with one bit through differing formation conditions, reducing or removing the need to trip for bit changes.  Market testing has estimated that the application of any successful new technology could result in an annual savings of $1.05bn for operators and the rise of a new market in Rate of Penetration-improving technologies. 

The new research programme created by ITI Energy will deliver a full scale RED drilling module by developing a laboratory model already devised and built by the School of Engineering at the University.  

This will be achieved through the use of mathematical modelling, computer simulation and scale testing methodologies. Over the course of four years the programme will generate new innovations in downhole power generation, resonance components, sensor technology and control algorithms.  

Professor Albert Rodger, Vice Principal and Head of the University's College of Physical Sciences, is delighted with the award of the first phase of the new research and development programme.  He said: "ITI Energy's decision to create such a major programme using technology developed at the University demonstrates the potential value of the technology. This award is a clear indication of the major research strength the University now has in areas directly linked to the energy industry.

l to r: Fred Stevenson-Robb, Professor Marian Wiercigroch, Principal C Duncan Rice, Chris Brown (ITI Energy) and Professor Albert RodgerProfessor Marian Wiercigroch, the RED inventor and Principal Investigator for the project explains: "I am very excited to see one of my theoretical ideas, nonlinear resonances in the borehole, to be tested in the real world. The oil and gas industry has many challenging problems and the downhole drilling belongs to the most complex ones. This is also one of the largest UK projects in the area of nonlinear dynamics.  It is a truly inter- and multidisciplinary research programme involving applied mathematics, rock and fluid mechanics, mechanical, civil and electronic engineering." 

Dr Alan Lowdon, Director, R&D Programmes at ITI Energy said: "The RED programme has the potential to establish a radically new way of drilling oil wells, and to establish Scotland as the world centre for this technology."

The University of Aberdeen's participation in the RED Programme will involve six members of academic staff, a Research and Innovation Officer, a technician, four senior Research Fellows and five PhD students.

University of Aberdeen:           Contact Shaunagh Kirby, tel: +44 (0)1224 273108, mob 07947 980584 or email: href=""></a></p>

ITI Energy:              Contact Ian Spinney, Spinney & Partners, mob:  07973 671 773

Photographs from the event will be available from Shaunagh Kirby on the contact details above.


Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Monday 10th of December 2007

Ref: 4441ITIRed
Contact: Angela Ferguson

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