Statoil and NASA Form Research Partnership

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November 22, 2013

File photo of a Statoil platform in the North Sea. Image (c) Øyvind Hagen – Statoil

A new partnership between Norwegian oil major Statoil and NASA is looking to explore how space technologies and knowledge can be applied to oil and gas exploration and production as the industry increasingly moves into new frontiers.

In a press release Friday, Statoil said that the company has finalized the agreement with NASA to partner on research to determine how space and the oil and gas industry can be relevant to one another. The contract with NASA is effectuated at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at Pasadena, California, which is managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

“Searching for oil and gas resources has become so advanced technically over the past decade that new solutions and ideas are needed. To Statoil this is a significant opportunity to take technologies developed by NASA and JPL for the harsh and challenging environments of space and apply them to the equally demanding environments of oil and gas production,” said Lars Hoier, Statoil acting senior vice president of research, development and innovation.

Similarities are often drawn between oil and gas exploration and production, particularly when it comes to ultra-deepwater, and NASA’s space program.

“We’re excited to work with NASA–one of the leading research organizations globally–to evaluate the development and application of technologies that have more in common with outer space exploration than previously thought,” Hoier added.

“This agreement is the latest example of how NASA and JPL technologies can benefit us here on Earth. It’s also an example of how collaborations with other industries can be beneficial to space exploration,” said JPL director Charles Elachi.

Statoil says it annually spends about $550 million on research, development and innovation, and the agreement with NASA is complementary to the work the company already has underway.

The contract between is expected to run from 2013 to 2018, with the option of contract extension, and will focus on the following research areas: supercomputing, materials, robotics, development of new tools, and communication optionality.

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