SUBSEA VETERAN, FREDDY FRYDENBØ:
According to one of the subsea industry’s “grand old men”, Freddy Frydenbø, the escalating costs in Norwegian oil and gas industry is due to everyone trying reinvent the wheel.
– Everyone is talking about standardisation, and has done so for a long time, but no one does anything about it, says Freddy Frydenbø.
He has now retired, but has spent most of his career working with subsea technology. From 1976 to 1981 he headed the Norwegian Underwater Institute, and from 1981 to 2004 he led the Deepwater Technology Group at Hydro. Projects in which he has been heavily involved include SKULD, TOGI and Troll Pilot. He has also served as advisor to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. In 1980 he played a key role in, and was part of the programme committee for, the first Underwater Technology Conference. The conference is held for the 20th time this year.
According to Frydenbø, the technological development has been formidable since he started working in the subsea sector in 1976. He bowed out in 2004, but this does not mean that he has put his involvement and interest in the sector on the shelf. Although the technological development has been immense, he is not equally impressed with cost developments.
– It is out of control. One of the reasons is that everyone is trying to invent everything themselves. For each field that is discovered, people start from scratch instead of looking at already existing technology. Each field is unique, but this does not mean that you have to reinvent the wheel every time. For an engineer, this is of course much more fun, but it is not necessary and it elevates costs, says Frydenbø.
In his opinion, more standardisation is needed, and existing technology should be considered before it is decided that new technology is required. Another reason for costs getting out of control is what he describes as over-bureaucratisation.
– With every little job comes a container-load of documents. Looking at the global safety statistics, we do not perform any better than the rest, but we are far more inefficient and bureaucratic. The bureaucracy has taken over completely, says Frydenbø.
He argues that if the Norwegian oil and subsea sector is to have a future, it is paramount that the level of costs is managed.
– There is really no other option. Many of the new fields are located further from land, and are far more challenging in terms of recovery. An example is the Aasta Hansteen field which costs NOK 57 billion to develop, but only has reserves worth NOK 50 billion. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that this is not sustainable, says Frydenbø.