Offshore Technology Focus is back with a new issue packed with industry insight. Read it here for free in the web browser of any device.

The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office is preparing fresh criminal charges against Shell relating to a $1.3bn deal in 2011 to buy drilling rights at offshore oil field OPL 245 in Nigeria. In light of these latest allegations, we look at this deal and Shells operations in the country.

We also look at the effect Total SA’s recent major discovery will have on South Africa, investigate the motivations behind Norway’s decision to divest its sovereign wealth fund from oil and gas, and what Ineos’ new investment will mean for the Forties Pipeline system.

Additionally, the UK’s Department for International Trade tells us how it’s supporting businesses in the subsea and offshore sectors, we profile the start-ups chosen by the Oil & Gas Technology Centre under its TechX Pioneer Accelerator Programme, and question whether more needs to be done to protect offshore rigs from underwater mudslides.

Finally, we track offshore strikes in the North Sea over the last few years in a timeline of the temperamental region.

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In this issue

‘Spoiled for choice’- discussing offshore opportunities with the UK Dept of Trade

A dedicated team at the UK’s Department for International Trade is supporting businesses in the subsea and offshore sector specifically to open new opportunities and enter new international markets. We spoke to the Director of Energy and Infrastructure to find out more.

Read more.

End of an era: Norway’s sovereign wealth fund divests from oil and gas

With Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global’s cessation of investment into oil and gas exploration and production came some questions for the sector and those countries reliant on a profitable industry. We speak with Tom Sanzillo and Erling Kvadsheim about the industry’s future.

Read more.

Shell’s OPL 245 deal: a catalogue of scandal

The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office is preparing fresh criminal charges against Royal Dutch Shell relating to a $1.3bn deal in 2011 to purchase drilling rights at the OPL 245 deepwater offshore oil field in Nigeria. We get the inside track from Global Witness campaigner Barnaby Pace.

Read more.

Will a new big find rejuvenate South Africa’s oil industry?

Analysts are positive that a major gas discovery in South Africa by Total SA could provide a major boost for the country’s ailing oil and gas sector. Production has fallen in recent years and exploration has been unsuccessful until now. We take a look at the find and other recent moves in South Africa’s offshore oil industry.

Read more.

OGTC TechX Pioneer programme: the class of 2019

Ten tech start-ups have been chosen by the Oil & Gas Technology Centre under its TechX Pioneer Accelerator Programme, with each firm taking a share of £1m in funding to help bring their products to market. Winning technologies include autonomous underwater swarm technology, micro-polymers to fill gaps in well equipment, and 3D-printed tools for well intervention.

Read more.

Breathing new life into the Forties Pipeline System

Ineos has announced that it will invest £500m to improve the Forties Pipeline System, which links around 85 North Sea facilities to the UK mainland and was acquired from BP in 2017. The company says the investment will extend the life of the system by 20 years, taking it into the 2040s. Offshore Technology Focus talks to Ineos about the investment and what it means for the Forties Pipeline System.

Read more.

Through time: offshore strikes in the North Sea

In March, strikes led by British and Irish trade union Unite kicked off, with workers taking 24 hours of industrial action on three Total-owned offshore platforms over rota disputes. The region is no stranger to industrial action, with the increasing scale and repetition of strikes over the past few years raising concerns over the timelines of new developments and longer-term investment attractiveness in the region. In this interactive timeline feature, we explore the biggest North Sea strikes throughout history.

Read more.

Underwater mudslides: the threat no one’s prepared for

Offshore oil and gas rigs are designed to withstand hurricanes and storms, but are they underestimating other natural disasters? Earthquakes can lead to underwater mudslides that could cause huge amounts of damage, especially in the Gulf of Mexico where around a thousand rigs lie in close quarters. Does more need to be done to protect rigs from mudslides, and how could that be done?

Read more.

Next issue preview

In the next issue, we take a look the offshore gas industry in Greece as, after years of false starts, progress to develop the area finally seems to be beginning. We also look at the Great Australian Bight, where protesters are trying to ensure exploration and extraction work does not go ahead.

Then, we examine five of the companies pursuing a fulling electrified subsea, and ask why it is taking so long for the industry to switch.

Elsewhere, technological advancements are certainly taking off, such as Cognite’s real-time, digital visualisations, and a new technology designed to be a smoke alarm for the sea.

Additionally, US offshore regulator BSEE has come under fire recently, but is it just doing its job? We speak to Petrobas about its work to develop ‘zero dive’ operations and we speak to NASA about its work with the oil and gas industry to use a plasma drill to search for life on Mars.