💡 Inspired by ideas… there’s no ‘dragons’ in our den


Gillian White

Gillian White

Subsurface Solution Centre Manager

Watching Dragons’ Den on TV gives us all the chance to ruthlessly judge new business pitches from the safety of our armchair. There’s something about witnessing the squirm of the inventor as they negotiate on the spot with the emotionless Dragons that makes me pleased I’m not in their shoes.


Hold that thought…


Before I joined the OGTC, I had never even heard of a call for ideas. Fast forward to a few months later and I’m hosting a workshop with a roomful of experts in oil and gas exploration to decide on the theme of my first one. With exploration drilling losing popularity year on year the ambitious topic of revitalising exploration in the UK was an obvious candidate for innovation. What we needed to agree on was “which aspects of exploration that can most benefit from a new technology boost?”


After a few workshop hours spent sharing ideas and discussing the obstacles to exploration, we landed our three main challenge themes:


·         Affordable ocean bottom seismic for exploration

·         Reducing the time to process data and improving reservoir imaging

·         Characterisation


Thanks to technology, we used a digital portal to collect developers’ ideas. Once the ideas start coming in it’s a daily treat to check what’s new and figure out how these ideas will sit in today’s industry.


After two months of the open call being ‘live’, we’d received almost 40 applications for funding.


One of the best things about my job is getting companies involved in the great effort to inject new technology into the UK offshore oil and gas industry. A group of exploration experts representing different operators and The OGA spent evening and weekend hours poring over the top twenty ideas.


On July 18th, the top nine developer ideas were pitched live to our very own Dragons’ Den panel. My overwhelming feeling on the day was joy at the spirit in the room ignited by deep technical debate, collaboration, trust, fascination and openness. On top of all that, the quality of the ideas was excellent.


The panel chose four winners on the day, but the competition was very close and we see lots of potential in the five runners up too. Our call for ideas certainly produced ideas! Next, we're looking for operators to support live projects with these developers to deliver that technology to boost UK exploration.