A Scottish technology company has announced a major step towards the mass production of small unmanned oil platforms, which it believes can dramatically reduce the cost of operating marginal offshore fields.
Unmanned Production Buoy said on Monday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the engineering arm of Chinese oil major Cnooc for the manufacture of shells and components for its buoy-based system.
Under the agreement – signed during a trip to China by Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister – Cnooc’s engineering arm Offshore Oil Engineering (Zuhai) is to build 100 shells and components that will then be shipped to a Scottish fabrication yard for assembly and fit out.
UPB said the initial MoU covered a 10-year period with an anticipated contract value of ￡2.5bn. It said around 70 per cent of the total construction cost of each buoy unit was expected to go to European suppliers.
Finding ways to extract as much oil as possible from small reserves has become a focus for both energy companies and policy makers, as offshore production and tax revenues decline.
UPB received ￡500,000 in funding from the Scottish government, as well as a licence from the UK government, to deploy its unmanned buoy system above oilfields near the eastern edge of the UK’s continental shelf.
The Aberdeenshire-based venture last month signed an MOU with Amec, the FTSE 100 engineering group, for development and construction of its first platforms.
UPB said it expects to announce investment from major oil companies in the UK fields to be exploited using UPB’s technology.
Unmanned Production Buoy(UPB)周一表示，其与中国大型石油公司中海油(Cnooc)的工程子公司签署了一项谅解备忘录，后者将制造其浮标系统的外壳和组件。