BP, University of Texas collaborate on energy research
HOUSTON -- BP is to commit $4 million to launch a new strategic partnership with The University of Texas at Austin to support several leading-edge oil and gas industry research projects, with the potential for increased contributions as new studies are identified in the future. The collaboration aims to develop real-world solutions to a number of technical challenges facing the global oil and gas industry, both onshore and offshore.
One initial area of focus is related to Project 20K, a multi-year initiative announced by BP in early 2012 that seeks to develop next-generation systems and tools to help unlock the next frontier of deepwater oil and gas resources, currently beyond the reach of today’s technology. Accessing these resources is a key part of BP’s commitment to U.S. energy security.
The University of Texas’ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will work with the Project 20K team to study the impact of “human factors” on the drilling process and the potential for new systems that can enhance safety and efficiency. A second area of activity will be to develop a reliability assessment process for BP’s project team to use in quantifying the “system-level reliability” of Project 20K concepts.
Other joint research projects include one that seeks to improve recoveries from shale gas and oil formations through a deep investigation of fracturing fluids’ impact on well productivity. Another focuses on enhancing early detection of kicks by using real-time well data and predictive models to better inform operational decisions.
“This is not just theoretical research,” said James Dupree, BP’s COO, Reservoir Development & Technology. “Under this partnership, we are tackling real-world challenges that, if better understood, could have far-reaching impacts not only on BP but on the future of global energy development.”
Administered by a joint governance board, the program has established a rigorous process for selecting research projects that play to the university’s strengths in engineering and geosciences as well as meet BP’s strategic business needs.
BP is funding research in the Cockrell School’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.
While the agreement is initially focused on several specific research projects, the intent is to establish a long-term partnership between BP and the University of Texas that is beneficial to both and that could later result in increased funding. Successes in early projects will help build the basis for future collaboration, with the ultimate goal of taking the research and technologies developed through the program from the lab and into the field.