£1.9 million in funding for National Decommissioning Centre of Excellence

£1.9 million in funding for National Decommissioning Centre of Excellence

The Scottish Government has awarded £1.9 million in grant funding to invest in the recently-announced National Decommissioning Centre of Excellence - a partnership between the University of Aberdeen and The Oil & Gas Technology Centre.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, confirmed the award from the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund during a visit to the University’s Oceanlab facility, where the new Centre will be based.

The National Decommissioning Centre of Excellence, scheduled to open in late 2018, will tackle current and future challenges with world-class research and development in partnership with the oil and gas industry in the UK and internationally.

The funding, which builds on the multi-million commitment from the University and the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, will be used in four key areas:

Digital collaboration environment

We’re developing a unique collaboration environment, equipped with the latest digital technology, that will allow academics and oil and gas companies to work together in an entirely new way. The immersive space will provide opportunities for asset and downhole visualisation, ‘digital twin’ models and virtual geology.

Underwater cutting laser

We’re investing in an industrial laser to develop an underwater cutting solution that could save the oil and gas industry up to £90 million. The University of Aberdeen has a proven track record in underwater laser applications, and we’re aiming to partner with industry to create a technology solution that will be trialled on the UK Continental Shelf.

Dedicated computer lab

We’re developing a powerful computing cluster to allow the fast simulation and modelling of innovative, knowledge-based, high-value decommissioning solutions and scenarios. This dedicated IT infrastructure will enable the Centre to tackle complex projects, processing vast quantities of data quickly and effectively.

Manufacturing capability

The National Decommissioning Centre of Excellence aims to rapidly develop new technology for testing, certification and deployment. To achieve this, we’re enhancing the existing manufacturing and workshop facilities at Oceanlab with new state-of-the-art engineering resources.  We are now seeking industry partners with experience, ideas and equipment, who want to co-invest with us to deliver a step change in performance and help deliver at least a 35% reduction in the cost of decommissioning.

Business, Energy and Innovation Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The Decommissioning Challenge Fund has been a successful vehicle for funding a broad range of interesting decommissioning projects and levering in private sector investment.

“We believe working with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and investing in the Decommissioning Centre of Excellence will expand the reach of our funding and further support sector innovation. This will enable advances in reducing the cost of decommissioning and confirm Scotland’s place as a global centre for decommissioning expertise.”

Richard Neilson, Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange, University of Aberdeen, said:

“This investment from the Scottish Government is testament to our plans for a world-class centre for research and development, where our academics will work alongside industrial partners to create solutions that will establish the National Decommissioning Centre of Excellence at the heart of this important industry.

 “Based at the University’s Oceanlab facility, the new centre will build upon and enhance the work that already takes place here across a range of decommissioning disciplines, from engineering to legal, regulatory and environmental considerations.

 “We are tremendously excited to be working alongside our partners in the OGTC as part of this project, and look forward to helping develop the innovation, expertise and skills that will play an important role in the future of the industry.”

Roger Esson, Decommissioning Solution Centre Manager, said:

“We’re delighted to have secure this important investment from the Decommissioning Challenge Fund. We want to transform the future of decommissioning and the funding will help create an environment that fosters innovation, and where academia and industry can work together on cutting-edge solutions.

“There is a significant export opportunity with decommissioning and the National Centre of Excellence is a valuable opportunity for supply chain companies and technology developers in Scotland, and across the UK, to develop the capability to meet domestic and global demand.”

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