GE, Statoil Seek Entries for Second Open Innovation Challenge

by Karen Boman, Senior Editor

GE Oil & Gas and Statoil ASA’s Sustainability Collaboration is again turning to crowdsourcing to look for new, innovative ideas that will enhance efficiency while reducing the environmental impact of oil and gas exploration and production.

Through its second Open Innovation Challenge, the two companies are seeking ways to reduce fresh water usage in hydraulic fracturing and find new ideas to treat and reuse water, while maintaining or improving productivity.

The companies recently announced the winners of their first Open Innovation Challenge, which focused on finding innovative new solutions to reduce the amount of sand proppant used.

Recognizing that great ideas transcend any one company or geography, Statoil and GE launched the collaboration in January to drive industrial solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing global oil and gas production.

“This collaboration with Statoil is centered on both our companies’ commitment to continued investment in technology and innovation to help develop low-cost and more efficient energy solutions,” said Eric Gebhardt, chief technology officer for GE Oil and Gas, in a July 7 press statement.

Ideas at any scale – and from large and small individual innovators, institutions and companies worldwide – are welcome. GE and Statoil also will leverage their joint assets and resources to support the commercialization of the winning submissions.

“Even incremental strides in improving water management can add up to significant conservation gains,” said Lars Høier, senior vice president of research, development & innovation at Statoil.

When possible, Statoil seeks to reduce its use of fresh water. Recently, the company successfully fractured two wells with 100 percent produced water, saving 3.5 million gallons of fresh water per well, said Høier.

Water represents one of the greatest environmental stewardship challenges facing the oil and gas industry, particularly for companies involved in onshore unconventional development and production. These companies have a strong incentive to develop technologies and methods that reduce fresh water usage, as well as treat and recycle water that returns to the surface as part of their operations, the companies said in a July 7 press statement.

The two challenges are part of GE and Statoil’s Powering Collaboration Effort, a joint technology-focused program aimed at driving an industrial response to some of the biggest challenges facing worldwide oil and gas production, including flaring, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane emissions and water usage, while also optimizing business operations. Through its initial stage, the collaboration is building on a foundation of concrete projects already underway that address key sustainability dimensions of the industry, such as reducing flaring and lower CO2 intensity through innovative application of CNG in a Box as part of the Last Mile Fueling solution.

Other technologies that the collaboration is pursuing include the reduction of water usage through CO2 stimulation, increasing fuel efficiency through gas compressor optimization, and boosting fuel efficiency with Turbine Online Water Wash technology.

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