Energy Voice | Research into North Sea’s ‘race to second place’ for new tech

New research is to be carried out into the North Sea’s “race to be second” for adopting new technology.

The Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and the Robert Gordon University (RGU) will carry out a study into “human barriers” to taking on and deploying new tech in the UK oil and gas sector.

The two-year study will look into psychological factors that influence decisions, best practice for overcoming barriers and developing a practical toolkit for adopting new innovations.

Ruby Roberts, a psychologist at RGU, who specialises in human factors in high hazard environments, will lead the research.

It comes at a time when the North Sea needs new technologies “more than ever”, according to the OGTC, however many are reluctant to take them on which has been a “barrier”.

The centre said the delay in taking on new tech is “rarely” to do with technical features but often a result of underestimating the “human factors” in its deployment.

David Millar, director of the OGTC’s TechX start-up programme, said: “The race to be second in terms of adopting new technology is not unique to the oil and gas industry but has been a real barrier in recent years.

“Ultimately, humans are the enabler or barrier to some of the new technology being adopted.

“So, we need to spend more time understanding the complexities of these human factors to ensure everything we do is for the benefit of the industry.

“We want to create a deep understanding and develop a practical toolkit with RGU that can be used throughout industry to help the deployment of new technology rapidly and make a real difference.”

His colleague Luca Corradi, Innovation Network director at the OGTC, added: “Too often new technology succeeds at pilot stage but fails or takes too long to be widely adopted.

“This is rarely to do with the technical features of the technology and often a consequence of underestimating the human factors in technology deployment.

“This research programme will help both technology developers and operating companies understand and address these factors to both improve the speed and success rate when developing or introducing new technology.”

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