International energy company Statoil and the University of Texas at Austin (UT) have signed an Energy Partnership agreement providing the university with an annual funding of US$1 million for 5 years. The agreement is Statoil’s largest of its kind outside Norway, and UT has been chosen as the company’s pilot university in the United States.
Statoil technology is world leading in many areas. However, the oil and gas industry is changing with more complex technological challenges. Increased global focus on research and development is needed to close technological gaps. Academia agreements are of strategic importance to Statoil in order to maintain a rapid pace of technological innovation and continue developing a business mindset.—Bill Maloney, executive vice president for Statoil in North America
UT has for many years been an important partner for Statoil within research and technology development, especially in the areas of geology, geophysics and petroleum engineering. Four strategic areas are identified in the new agreement:
Integration of geological, geophysical and petrophysical data in earth models;
Trap integrity in salt basins—sub-salt imaging and seal versus pore pressure challenges;
Drainage of deep marine reservoirs—static and dynamic reservoir models and drainage methods; and
Unconventionals—improved development and drainage of shale plays.
Statoil’s academia program consists of 11 bilateral agreements. Of these, eight are with Norwegian institutions and three are international. In addition to the UT agreement, Statoil has formalized collaboration with Imperial College in the UK and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Statoil is one of the largest holders of deepwater acreage in the US Gulf of Mexico, where it also has interests in six producing fields. Onshore US, the company holds material positions in the Marcellus and Eagle Ford shales. In Canada Statoil is operator for the Kai Kos Dehseh project in Alberta and has interests in two producing fields offshore Newfoundland.
Statoil’s Research and Development department has about 700 employees. Statoil is devoting approximately USD 430 million to research activities in 2011, and has research centres in Norway (Trondheim, Kårstø, Bergen, Porsgrunn), a heavy oil technology centre in Canada (Calgary) and technology activities in Beijing, Rio de Janeiro and Houston.