A*STAR spearheads R&D efforts to position Singapore as an innovation hub

December 28, 2010

SINGAPORE, 30 November 2010: The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) will be initiating R&D in oil and gas equipment to position Singapore as an innovation hub for the Oil and Gas (O&G) equipment sector and strengthen Singapore's marine and offshore industry. The announcement, made by Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education, at the 18th International Oil & Gas Industry Exhibition & Conference (OSEA 2010) on 30 November, highlighted that A*STAR will be collaborating with the local universities to carry out R&D programmes in Ruggedised Electronics, Multiphase Flow Analysis, and Materials for Marine and Offshore Equipment.

Research Programme Overview

These three R&D programmes are designed to provide the technological solutions and innovations to the O&G equipment manufacturers for quality products. These products will address the challenges of a harsher operating environment as oil and gas explorations transit into deeper waters.

a) Ruggedised Electronics (A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics, National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University)

The performance of electronics degrades under increasingly harsh environments of temperatures higher than 200°C. These conditions necessitate the development of high temperature ruggedised electronics embedded in O&G equipment, especially drilling tools. This R&D programme will focus on solutions such as ruggedised packaging, improved circuit design of sensors, peripheral electronics and memories, leveraging on Singapore's capabilities in microelectronics.

b) Multiphase Flow Analysis (A*STAR's Institute of High Performance Computing and National University of Singapore)

This programme aims to provide an accurate modelling and simulation of the multiphase flow behaviour of crude oil, gas, sea water and sand under extreme conditions. Due to the increased challenges involved in extracting oil from deeper waters, sensors and other innovative solutions are needed to minimise interventions and optimise production. The ability to obtain accurate information at the oilfield is critical in shaping the oil and gas equipment as well as the seismic service industries.

c) Materials for Marine and Offshore Equipment (A*STAR's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University)

This programme will focus on the development of novel materials to operate in harsh environments (high temperature, high pressure, corrosive and erosive conditions). The targeted applications include new generation risers, subsea systems and elastomeric materials for O&G equipment. The development will leverage on the competitive advantages in nano-material technology.

Commenting on the programmes, Prof Low Teck Seng, Managing Director, A*STAR said, "These three R&D programmes will leverage on the strength of our research communities to create an impact in growing the O&G equipment sector. The genesis of this was from a joint effort between EDB and A*STAR where I was co-chairing a task force together with Choon Shian (Deputy Managing Director of EDB). Through the collaborative efforts of A*STAR, NUS and NTU, Singapore can be positioned as an attractive innovation hub for the O&G equipment industry."

Dr Brindesh Dhruva, Engineering Manager, Artificial Lift Product Group, Schlumberger, said, "As the industry pushes towards harsher and deeper environments, we see significant challenges that remain, particularly in the area of High Temperature Materials, High Temperature Electronics and modelling of Multiphase Flows. The R&D initiatives in addressing these challenges will make significant impact within the O&G Industry. The availability of such research activity, and the opportunity to leverage it, makes it an important consideration when planning Engineering activities in Singapore."

Added Mr Hau-Jiun Chen, Technical Professional Leader, Halliburton Singapore, "One of the key concerns for MNCs when moving high-end R&D activities to Singapore is the availability of high potential human resource capabilities. These R&D projects initiated by A*STAR are relevant to industry, enabling the build-up and advancement of critical talent pool very much in demand in the industry. The success of these projects is a magnet in attracting high value research investments into Singapore."

Based on preliminary numbers, Singapore's total marine and offshore industry output in 2009 was S$20.1 billion. The industry contributed 9.4 % of total manufacturing output and employs close to 92,000 people. (Source: Singapore Economic Development Board).

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

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