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GE and Statoil begin open innovation water challenge

GE and Statoil has followed up on their first open innovation sand challenge with a second water challenge, for reducing fresh water usage and treating and reusing water from development activities—while maintaining or improving productivity.
GE and Statoil begin open innovation water challenge

GE and Statoil’s sustainability collaboration has launched the call for entries for its second open innovation challenge focusing on water usage in the development of onshore unconventional oil and gas reservoirs. Through crowd sourcing, the challenge seeks to find innovative solutions for both reducing fresh water usage and treating and reusing water from development activities—while maintaining or improving productivity.

“This collaboration with Statoil is centered on both our companies’ commitment to continued investment in technology and innovation to help develop low-cost and more efficient energy solutions. We recognize that great ideas transcend any one company or geography, which is why we’ve launched this open innovation challenge,” said Eric Gebhardt, chief technology officer, GE Oil and Gas. “We invite individual innovators, institutions and companies—large and small— from around the world to co-develop potential solutions to make energy production more sustainable by improving the use of water in unconventional operations.”

Water, a precious natural resource, represents one of the greatest environmental stewardship challenges facing the oil and gas industry. Companies involved in onshore unconventional development and production, in particular, have a strong incentive to develop technologies and methods that reduce fresh water usage, as well as treat and recycle water that returns to the surface as part of their operations.

“Ideas at any scale are welcome,” said Lars Høier, senior vice president, research, development and innovation, Statoil. “Even incremental strides in improving water management can add up to significant conservation gains.”

The collaboration was launched in January as an ambitious joint technology-focused program to drive industrial solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing global oil and gas production. The initiative seeks to reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas development and production by accelerating the development of environmentally and economically sustainable energy solutions. 

In this second challenge, up to five winning entries will win a prize of US$25,000 each and the opportunity to be eligible to receive additional funding from an available discretionary prize pool of $375,000 in development funds. Also, GE Oil and Gas and Statoil will leverage their joint assets and resources to support the commercialization of the winning submissions.

The launch of the water challenge comes just as the sand draws to a close, with finalists in that challenge to be announced later in July.

Image: GE and Statoil collaboration/GE Oil and Gas

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