(EnergyAsia, December 27 2010, Monday) — ITF, the UK oil and gas industry technology facilitator, has spelled out the technology challenges that its membership of global service providers want to see tackled in 2011.

The organisation tasked with driving new game changing technology solutions also revealed ambitious plans to increase its international reach by opening new bases in key regions including the US, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

At ITF’s annual technology conference in Aberdeen earlier this month, representative of international oil companies from Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia Pacific debated and narrowed down 60 specific technology issues to six priority challenges to focus on during 2011.

These include enhanced oil recovery, subsea technologies (including deepwater), unconventional oil reservoirs, ageing assets (including tail-end production), drilling and well intervention.

A programme of workshops is now being drawn up that will bring members together with the technology developer community at key locations around the globe during 2011 to help drive new groundbreaking technologies. The first on enhanced oil recovery will take place in Kuwait on February 7.

Neil Poxon, ITF’s managing director, said: “Our members seriously debated the big issues they are facing in safely extracting hydrocarbon reserves and it is clear there are some very pressing technology needs for 2011. We will be announcing some major opportunities for investment from our membership in new technologies that can get right to the heart of the challenges being experienced in the field.”

Through joint industry projects, ITF supports novel technology development and implementation funded by its members.

It has brought more than 160 new technologies to market and secured around £50 million investment from its member companies. (US$1= £0.65). It aims to secure a further £50 million from members to launch 40 joint industry projects per year by 2015.

ITF aims to open offices in the Middle East next year and Houston and Asia Pacific in early 2012, initially employing four additional staff to service these key growth regions.

Mr Poxon said: “There was a lot of discussion from our members around the particular challenges of deepwater drilling and the lessons being learned from Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico and these will be considered as part of our subsea technology challenge.

“The ITF model has been very successful in promoting collaborative research, development and deployment of new technologies and we have our sights set on further global growth. We have significantly grown our international membership and to be sustainable it is important that we have offices around the world to represent the spread and diversity of our member companies.”

Mr Poxon said: “North America is the world’s third largest oil and gas producer with Houston recognised as a centre for the industry and most of our members have operations there. The Gulf of Mexico and onshore provinces are technologically challenging with deep water, tight gas, heavy oil, arctic and unconventional resources and members see the ITF process as key to solving some of these issues.

“We also intend to establish offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Perth, Australia which will both be serviced with the appointment of key ITF personnel. There are a number of other important regions for the industry including China, South America and the former Soviet Union and we will continue to monitor these areas closely to enable market development at the right time.

“It is an exciting time for ITF and the feedback that we had from our members gives us great confidence about their support for collaborating on new technology development and our plans for future growth.”