On Thursday 25 April, 2013, Chemical Engineering alumnus Dr David Söderberg visited from Houston, US and contributed a talk to the CEB Alumni Speaker Series. On the subject of “Technology Management in a large integrated Oil Company” Dr Soderberg described the process of Technology Management, its components and explained how science and technology support BP business helping them know what projects to work on, establish standardised practices and drive continuous improvement by speeding technology to market.
BP is the leader of specialist energy technologies such as seismic imaging, and enhanced oil recovery, in the upstream and more fuel efficiency in the downstream. BP has developed technologies like Independent Simultaneous Source (ISS), Permanent Installed Seismic Cables (4D Seismic), Ocean Bottom Surveys or Digital Radiography to maximise amount of oil recovered from a field and withstand harsh pressure conditions underground hence helping meet the world’s growing demand for energy.
To maintain this leading edge BP invest over £130m annually on research and development through UK based institutions, or around 35% of their total R&D spend, investing in their own research centres as well as programmes with UK universities and government initiatives like the BP Institute, established as an interdisciplinary research institute at Cambridge University over a decade ago. Its research has touched on oil recovery to areas such as geological storage of carbon dioxide, building ventilation and ocean currents.
Dr Söderberg added; “Our long history of developing technology for deployment across the world is a fundamental part of who we are and gives us a strong platform to help meet future energy demand.”
David went though the importance of a set of planning, project, and portfolio management processes to ensure that portfolio management decisions, prioritisation and execution are carried out in a consistent, meaningful, and equitable way to maximise business value and manage risk. He also highlighted that the role of Chemical Engineers in energy efficiency and their use of efficient processes is crucial, hence the need for ‘sustainable, scalable and affordable technologies’.
Finally, he acknowledged that “BP is committed to driving technological excellence, and as a company we believe that technology is central to BP’s reputation and competitive advantage in the short, medium and long term.”