Top 25 Innovative companies

Oil & Gas Middle East profiles the top companies driving innovation

Oil & Gas Middle Easts spotlights 25 innovative companies.
Oil & Gas Middle Easts spotlights 25 innovative companies.

Oil & Gas Middle East profiles the top companies driving innovation and the upstream energy industry forward

Innovation in the Oil & Gas industry
Innovation is a powerful and yet elusive process that can shape the future of not just organisations but entire industries. This holds true for the Oil and Gas industry, which has constantly demanded innovation on the part of stakeholders to deliver higher efficiency, and enhance productivity/ results.

Demanding a highly focused application to the process, innovation is not simply about creativity or efficiency – instead, innovation is about identifying existing challenges/ needs, and envisaging future ones, to drive alternate ways to achieve goals through optimised mechanisms. This could be in the form of products, ideas or processes.

“The Oil & Gas industry is a highly complex one, suffering from hazardous and challenging operating conditions, and the slightest of errors are associated with exceptionally high risks,” says Abhay Bhargava, head of MENA Energy & Power Systems at Frost & Sullivan.

“Operationally, existing reserves are challenged with declining production, while new sources are becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to locate and extract from,” he adds.

Strategically, the industry has to satisfy stakeholders, best achieved through operational efficiency, amidst a situation where the world is clamouring for adoption of alternate sources of energy.

“In these conditions, the industry is more dependent on innovation today than ever before, and this will drive significant Research & Development spend within the Oil & Gas industry over the next two decades at least,” says Bhargava.

Historically, R&D was the purview of the Operating companies (OPCO’s). However, the 1990s changed this, and now a significant chunk of R&D emanates from the industry, and more specifically, the Services companies, with strong support from academia.

Already, a number of innovations have become main-stream in the industry – these are relating to extraction of shale gas, offshore Exploration & Production (E&P) and in deeper waters, the digital revolution in oil fields, technologies for enabling transporting of resources across cold climates and geographies, water & wastewater treatment.

“However, this is only the tip of the iceberg, and we can expect to see a considerable amount of innovation in the industry, resulting in new products and technologies that will allow for cleaner, greener, safer and yet more efficient operations globally,” he says.

There are a number of challenges that need to be overcome for ensuring a sustained approach to innovation. Historically, fluctuations in Oil prices have been a major impediment to sustained innovation, with R&D programs being indefinitely shelved at times when the prices were not “favourable”.

Stakeholder expectations that are influenced by a requirement for short-term results present an unfavourable environment for innovation, which typically delivers results only over a medium-to-long term period.

Innovation is also challenged at a political, social and cultural level. But Bhargava believes that all of these factors are manageable and the Oil & Gas industry is expected to witness, and significantly benefit from, constant innovation in the long term.

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AMGAS Services’ Sour Crude Oil Recovery (SCOR) process is an innovative response to the increased development of sour oil and gas in the Middle East. The process provides multiple avenues for treating, storing, recovering or transporting sour crude oil.

Sour oil and gas well intervention is difficult to handle and treat due to lack of infrastructure, technology and experience in the Middle East. As a result, those crude resources, laden with Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), have been routinely flared, leading to a loss of commercial goods as well as presenting environmental and safety hazards.

The process fulfills the sustainability requirements of the triple bottom line in that it protects people, environment and investment. The SCOR process allows recovery opportunities for extended well tests, which improve well/zone evaluation and drilling plans.

Extended well tests are now possible because of the elimination of burning crude and the consequences associated with it.

Recovered sour crude oil is loaded, transported and treated safely in the SCOR Transport TankTM allowing commercial recovery of the oil. This also allows for extended testing parameters due to the cost savings of recovered crude oil.

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Control & Applications Emirates
Control & Applications Emirates is an EPC contractor in the fields of Electrical, Instrumentation and Control. Unlike other companies in the market, this Abu Dhabi based contractor thrives off its innovative service philosophy.

The company finds its strength in anticipating how projects will turn out, it adopts a proactive, rather than reactive approach to contracts.

This leading philosophy has ensured that the company has managed to deliver all its projects on-time; the proactive approach also allows the company to control expenses more accurately.

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Bernekon is offering fully integrated supply chain services with a holistic visibility and transparency to its customers.

Being in the supply chain industry does require services companies to source, vendor manage, import, export, transport, as well as to supply logistics services on the ground next door to its customers. The company services Strategic Sourcing, which finances and purchases products on behalf of its customers, and delivers the products with its Freight Management Solutions.

In addition with In Country Support Service, Bernekon leases equipment, provides local labour, as well Entry Visas, in support of a client’s operations.

Local purchases can vary from their industry specific needs to food, or personal care items. Whereby support services can vary from their need for selecting subcontractor, arranging their PR services, or even minor constructions.

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Emerson Process Management
Emerson Process Management’s Essential Asset Monitoring solutions are the industry’s first family of integrated wireless application solutions for equipment monitoring.

The pre-engineered monitoring and analysis solutions embed process and equipment knowledge into a wide range of applications and use existing wired and new wireless instruments to form a network for continuous automated expert monitoring.

Integrated solutions are available for pumps, blowers, compressors, heat exchangers, fired heaters, corrosion, and cooling towers. The new 24/7 online monitoring solutions reduce monitoring costs through pre-engineering savings and wireless efficiency.

Whereas wired continuous monitoring is traditionally afforded for only the most expensive and critical assets, the lower costs of Essential Asset Monitoring solutions enable expanded asset oversight.

The pre-engineered solutions are scalable. Users simply choose the number and type of applications that monitor threats specific to their facility. Their resulting solution will include a wireless field network communicating data from monitoring instruments to AMS Suite operator graphics and maintenance screens, and to host systems and data applications.

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Etihad Rail
Etihad Rail’s wagons were carefully manufactured and designed based on several studies and integrated research efforts conducted in collaboration with Etihad Rail’s different suppliers, leading the company to adopt some of the most advanced rail technologies available in the world.

The rail project will change the face of transportation in the UAE, playing a significant role in building a sustainable economy by promoting growth in various business sectors, providing jobs for the local workforce, and contributing to environmental preservation, since one fully loaded train produces 70-80% less CO2 emissions than that of the trucks required to transport the same tonnage.

The wagons were designed with the highest available safety standards to accommodate the core purpose of Stage One, the transport of granulated sulphur.

The wagons’ top-hatch covers for loading maintain the purity of the sulphur at 99.9%. Furthermore, train transport allows for a capacity of up to 22,000 tonnes of sulphur per day. It would take 360 trucks to transport the equivalent tonnage.

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Expro Meters supply the PassiveSONAR and ActiveSONAR meter. The combination of the two technologies serves the vast majority of upstream and midstream applications. PassiveSONAR is suited for high liquid loading multiphase flows, typical of black oil and low pressure gas wells.

ActiveSONAR, the second generation clamp-on SONAR meter, is well suited for gas and gas condensate wells with heavy schedule pipes.

Both meters are available in sizes from 2-inches to over 30-inches in diameter. SONAR meters have been tested at independent, NIST traceable calibration facilities to an accuracy of +/-2% in liquid and gas flows.

Expro has also developed the Total Production Surveillance system for flow measurement of black oil and gas condensate production wells.

Employing SONAR clamp-on flow metering technology, the TPS system utilises a combination of PVT models and multiphase flow correlations to report gas, oil and water flow rates. SONAR meters are also ideally suited for measuring the flow rate of injection wells.

Accurate determination of injection rates enables operators to optimise their fields real time, maximising production while collecting high quality empirical data to update reservoir models.

Measuring water injection rates for water flood or pressure support, CO2 rates for carbon capture, injection gas for gas lift injections are well defined applications for SONAR meters.

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ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties’s Mobil DTE 932 GT, is a scientifically engineered gas turbine oil that can help oil and gas operators to increase productivity by reducing unscheduled downtime and supporting their safety and environmental care objectives.

Engineered to enhance the performance of frame size combustion gas turbines with a common hydraulic and bearing oil reservoir, Mobil DTE 932 GT can help provide trouble-free service in gas turbines, which is crucial given the oil and gas industry’s reliance on turbine reliability.

Gas turbines play a fundamental role in liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, with many LNG plants using gas turbines to drive compressors that cool and liquefy gas for transportation.

Keeping gas turbines running effectively is key to maximising plant productivity and reducing unscheduled downtime.

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FEI has delivered a QEMSCAN WellSite analysis system to provide rapid onsite analysis of drill cores in oil and gas drilling operations. Core analysis is an essential component of formation evaluation used by geologists and engineers to determine the production potential of a well and to manage drilling and completion operations.

Having this capability at the well site enables reduction of analytical turnaround from several days or weeks to just a few hours (after the cores are retrieved from the core barrels or sidewall coring tools).

The automated-mineralogy capability provided by the QEMSCAN WellSite solution increases the speed and accuracy of our core analysis. In addition to microscopic mineralogy information, it can also provide two-dimensional porosity measurements and textural detail for lithological classification, which is valuable characterisation information.

With the QEMSCAN WellSite system, we can movethat advanced analytical capability right to the drill site, significantly reducing the time it takes to get the information to the people who need it most.

Near real-time decisions are important for our customers to optimize their drilling and completion designs, especially in high rig-cost environments, such as deepwater operations.

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Ferguson Group
IceBlue Refrigeration Offshore, part of the Ferguson Group, a specialist in providing refrigeration and freezer solutions for offshore food transportation and storage has developed a new 6m dual zone refrigerated/chiller container. The new 6m dual zone refrigerated/chiller container was manufactured to DNV 2.7-1/EN12079 for the offshore energy sector.

The new product offers a flexible solution, in one container, for transporting a range of perishable foodstuff that requires specific storage conditions.

The unit is capable of providing cooling in either a single or dual zone compartment simultaneously in a -30°c to +20°c ambient temperature range.

The IceBlue 6m dual zone refrigerated/chiller container provides temperature control for transportation and storage, suitable for use in a range of climatic conditions.

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General Electric
GE Oil & Gas Global Services offers monitoring & diagnostics, customer training programs, and innovative solutions such as the Oregen system, which recovers waste heat from gas turbine exhaust and converts it into electric energy; GE’s Filter House technology, which is a multistage air filtration system specifically designed for gas turbines operating in harsh environments; and GE’s Power Crystal kit, which safely enhances power output.

GE Oil & Gas Measurement & Controls business highlights its solutions for condition monitoring, both portable and continuous, of rotating machinery through its proven Bently Nevada product line.

It includes the System 1 condition monitoring and diagnostics platform as well as wireless monitoring, motor monitoring and in situ scanning, diagnostic and surveillance system and portable vibration analyzers to offer a truly integrated condition monitoring solution for customers.

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California based GlassPoint continues to make headway in Oman. GlassPoint’s Single Transit Trough (STT) technology was heralded as the first new solar thermal technology in decades.
Specifically designed for rugged oilfield environments, the GlassPoint solution encloses the solar technology in a unique glasshouse structure to deliver durable, low-cost solar steam in industrial environments.

GlassPoint steam generators directly raise steam using standard oilfield boiler feedwater, eliminating “reboilers” and expensive deionising units required by older solar system designs.

GlassPoint claims that its new technology raises steam with solar energy and delivers steam at a fraction of the cost of gas-fired steam. Solar-generated steam can deliver up to 80% of total annual EOR project needs, consequently reducing the amount of natural gas used by 80%.

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Haven Fire and Safety Autronica System
Haven Fire & Safety carries a number of innovative and critical technologies with the capacity to protect assets, facilities and employees. Among its many product lines is the Autronica brand.

Autronica Fire and Security AS, Oil & Gas is a leading innovator, manufacturer and supplier of advanced sensors and systems for fire and gas detection to the petrochemical oil and gas industry.

The product range includes AutroSafe® IFG (integrated fire and gas detection system) with SelfVerify, the world’s only IEC 61508 safety integrity level (SIL 2) approved integrated addressable fire and gas detection system.

SelfVerify detectors perform a calibrated self-test every day, making time consuming manual testing an activity of the past. AutroSafe SelfVerify avoids these problems by doing the job itself.

The new dual safety technology from Autronica enables redundant control of the loop. If for any reason, the primary loop control fails, the secondary loop control will take over, and fire detection is thus maintained.

The topology demonstrates the system architecture, achieving SIL2 approval by TUV for the entire system, with the latest ‘Dual Safety’ for detection loops also demonstrated.

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Magnum Technology CentrE
Led by general manager Bryan Finnigan, Magnum Technology Center has emerged as a manufacturing and assembly plant for both onshore and offshore well test equipment packages.

Drawing on Finnigan’s years of experience in manufacturing and engineering of oil field equipment, the company designs products to be ergonomic and more practical. The company packages gate valves, chokes, flowheads, choke manifolds, surface safety valves, and other equipment while drawing on years of hands-on experience to make the equipment more useable.

For MTC, it’s the details that make the difference to the client; products assembled by MTC are fine-tuned to the point where operationally clients are more interested.

At the same time, MTC has taken the innovative step to manufacture its products for stock, to package them in a way that matches industry needs.

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Marlink provides the most extensive communications network coverage for the oil and gas industry on the market. With the introduction of 60cm and 80 cm antennas in addition to the 1m antenna (+ Sealink with 1.5 and 3m antennas), the company has developed unrivalled levels of communications expertise and experience over the MENA region.

The company recently introduced a new standardised VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) offering with entry and premium levels. Entry level is based on volume consumption where customers opt for what they need (5, 10, 20 and 30 GB) and the premium level based on more business critical operations where data consumption is limited and the service comes with higher quality and support.

Marlink was recently acquired by Astrium Services, giving it long term stability and access to even wider markets, expanding its leading position across maritime satellite communications with increased access to both terrestrial and maritime infrastructure. With its own dedicated teleports around the world, can by relied on to directly tackle any challenges in the advent of even the most extreme service issues.

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Mott MacDonald
Mott MacDonald’s Zakum Water Injection Upgrade project was full of complexity and innovation. The project involved the fabrication of various units and some very innovative installation methods and budgetary compliance.

The project will raise the operating company’s output by over 100,000 barrels per day. The company has also won FEED contracts for the $500 million EOR package, main construction at Abu Dhabi’s Satah field development project, as well as the MPMC for water facilities at the field, with the project due for completion in 2014.

Mott Mac is also working on the direct depressurisation works at Habshan, a $100 million Das Island separation plant and overseeing EPC works at Takreer.

Mott Mac has also designed the first ever LEED certified Green oil and gas building in India and has been working on other industry firsts such as the Qarn Alam full field EOR project in Oman.

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Nymphea Environnement has launched its Remote Survey Vehicle (RSV) into the Middle East market. The RSV, a remote-controlled floating platform that conducts oceanography surveys and can assists in the detection and management of marine pollution.

The lightweight craft can support different air and underwater sensors and equipment for surveillance and measurement operations. This includes position sensors, sonar devices, communication systems and an autopilot with an anti-collision system.

The equipment can be packed and checked into a commercial flight, making the technology very accessible and can be deployed within 20 minutes. The RSV, which is electrically propelled, can operate for up to 12 hours depending on the equipment attached to it.

The vessel can provide real-time data to an onshore or offshore centre. With over 90% of the materials used in its construction being recyclable, the RSV is a simple, affordable and non-polluting technology which can be used to map and provide surveillance of shallow waters typically inaccessible by larger vessels.

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Peak Well Systems
Peak Well Systems has released a new addition to its proprietary SIM System range for well remediation and flow control. The SIM FloWellTM is a slickline-set remedial technology capable of removing formation damage within selected downhole zones to improve well productivity.

The SIM FloWell is designed to improve well productivity by being able to remove certain types of formation damage (e.g. crushed zones in perforation tunnels, tenacious filter cakes and scales) in both oil and gas wells that are wireline-perforated.

The condition of the near-wellbore region is critical to the production of hydrocarbons, and the perforating process is one major contributor to skin damage. The severe compressive force of perforating can reduce the permeability of the surrounding rock, which in turn reduces productivity.

Like the rest of the products within the SIM System range, SIM FloWell is run, set and retrieved on slickline. Used in conjunction with Peak’s SIM Plug Systems to provide selective isolation of the zone to be treated, SIM FloWell induces a sudden pressure drawdown in a wellbore, and hence causes a surge of fluid inflow from the reservoir.

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Saudi Aramco and CGGVeritas
Saudi Aramco and CGGVeritas have entered into a collaboration to conduct a joint research and development project known as SpiceRack. The project will develop, manufacture and commercialise a robotised solution for seabed seismic acquisition.

Using self-propelled recording nodes, the technology is expected to change the delivery of reservoir quality seismic data.

CGGVeritas, an international pure-play geophysical company which delivers a wide range of technologies, services and equipment through Sercel, to its broad base of customers mainly throughout the global oil and gas industry, will also strengthen already close ties with the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

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Schlumberger has launched the DigiScope slimhole measurement-while-drilling (MWD) service. The robust signal of the DigiScope slimhole MWD technology transmits high-quality data to surface for real-time reservoir description and geosteering in land, extended-reach and deepwater wells.

This new high-speed telemetry service powers the complete suite of Schlumberger slimhole logging-while-drilling services in the same bottomhole assembly.

Fully compatible with the Orion II data compression platform, the DigiScope service applies a unique modulation algorithm to transmit high-quality data from the deepest wells for wellbore surveying, drilling optimisation and advanced formation evaluation.

In Mexico, a customer needed to obtain critical real-time data from a high-angle development well in a depleted reservoir requiring low mud weight to minimise losses.

The versatile range of the telemetry bandwidth, combined with the new modulation technique, was applied to MWD for the first time. This technology enabled the operator to acquire the best quality data with a high signal-to-noise ratio and safely guide drilling to total depth.

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StorIT, a data storage provider in the MENA region, has announced the availability of Mellanox’s high performance computing solutions for the Oil and Gas sector, which will help companies improve productivity for Oil and Gas high performance simulations.

Mellanox offers InfiniBand and Ethernet solutions that accelerate and maximize the capability of HPC systems and enable simulations to be executed faster and in higher quantity.

The vendor’s 40Gb/s InfiniBand and 10Gb/s Ethernet interconnect solutions are designed for multi-core cluster environments and can efficiently handle multiple data streams simultaneously while guaranteeing fast and reliable data transfers for each of the streams.

With latency as low as 1 microsecond, throughput as high as 40Gb/s, extreme message rate and low CPU overhead, Mellanox solutions enable fast and highly scalable communication among server processing units and storage systems, and therefore maximise the HPC system utilisation into the high 90% range, on average 50% higher than other networking solutions.

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Total ABK
Total ABK has been at the forefront of the implementation of advanced technologies to offset natural pressure decline.

The company employed artificial gas lift using associated gas then used water injection for secondary recovery. Tertiary gas injection was also introduced so that all these techniques were implemented at the same time in addition to some highly dedicated multi-drain horizon wells.

The company’s plan has shown excellent technical ability, management and has consistently raised the bar for what excellent recovery factors means.

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VF ImageWear
VFImageWear designs some of the lightest, most comfortable flamE resistant garments on the market to keep workers cool in hot climates and safe from hazards.

The company’s flagship Cooltouch2 products utilise the 100% bio environmentally-friendly Tencel fiber from Lenzing produced via a closed loop process which recycles water and solvent. The company also offers training sessions covering FR hazards, standards, fabrics and garments.

The company has gone on to online as well as in the field and classroom. It takes an innovative approach to communication with its 451 video on Bulwark’s new lightweight collection is stocked in the Middle East - cutting edge innovation delivering measurable benefits in terms of comfort; durability; protection; value.

Cooltouch2 is an inherently Flame Resistant collection and the best combination of these attributes on the market and has options in Hazard Risk Category (HRC) 1 and HRC2.

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Wintershall is currently testing a new technology that could significantly improve the recovery rate of deposits. Schizophllum commune, a magical mushroom that consumes oxygen and starch generates a biopolymer, a 100% biological thickening agent.

This polymer can be used for oil production: The gelatin-like substance thickens the water that is injected into the deposit to enhance production. The water can force more oil out of the deposit because it no longer flows past the valuable raw material so easily.

This technique cn raise the recovery rate from a reservoir significantly. At the end of 2012, Wintershall had entered into the testing phase for the mushroom.

The polymer is mixed with reservoir water and a preservative agent and is pumped into the injection well. Just 0.035% of the injection solution is made up of the biopolymer, enough to thicken the water by a factor of 25.

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VMonitor has the largest wellhead wireless monitoring system installation base worldwide in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The company constantly advances its technology to engineer the most efficient wireless and software solutions to provide clients with low cost alternatives to traditional cabled systems.

It offers turn-key remote monitoring and control solutions to a wide range of applications: oil and gas wells, water injection wells, gas lift, ESPs, pipelines and refinery facilities. Its low-power systems deliver high-capacity data acquisition and significantly reduced exposure of field personnel at previously unachievable low costs.

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Wärtsilä has introduced the GasReformer, a steam reforming technology to convert associated gas to a quality that can be used as fuel in Wärtsilä’s range of gas fuelled engines.

The Wärtsilä GasReformer is yet another example of the company developing highly efficient products and demonstrating integration capabilities to ensure environmentally and economically optimised solutions.

The Wärtsilä GasReformer is an innovative new product that enables gases produced during oil production, which by nature are rich in heavy hydrocarbons, to be converted into a methane rich product for utilisation in Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines operating at full performance levels.

Traditionally such gases would be flared and wasted. While catalytic conversion of hydrocarbon feeds to hydrogen is a known process dating back to the early 20th century, the Wärtsilä GasReformer represents a totally new application under quite different conditions than that of the traditional process.


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