INDUSTRY regulator the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is continuing its efforts to boost North Sea exploration by awarding a batch of new contracts.

As part of its bid to provide operators with quality data on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), the OGA has given classification giant Lloyd’s Register and consultancy IGI a contract to fun the first in a four-year Petroleum Systems Project.

The companies will compile a database of legacy geochemical data from across the area over the past 50 years, which will include sample information and analysis from databases compiled by the British Geological Survey (BGS) on behalf of the OGA.

Once finished, the resulting geochemical and geological databases will be made available to industry bodies and academic institutions.

Evaluation of “rock physics and seismic amplitude responses” of unexplored parts of the central North Sea and East Shetland Basin will result from the award of a contract to London-based software firm Ikon Science.

The OGA said: “These findings will be shared with the wider exploration community ahead of the 32nd mature licensing round and, if successful, used by the OGA to promote unlicensed opportunities in the UKCS prospect inventory where the concept can be applied.”

Further support will come through the OGA’s work with Agile Scientific to provide free geo-computing training courses in Aberdeen and London in the current quarter.

These will be aimed at subsurface operatives who are working on UK licences and will give them the chance to gain key data science skills and help companies gain more value from such data.

Agile Scientific will also host two machine-learning boot camps and subsurface hackathons in Aberdeen and London in November.

The contracts were awarded following a competitive tendering process in the first quarter of this year and followed a £5 million Treasury grant to stimulate exploration activity on the UKCS.

Jo Bagguley, the OGA’s principal regional geologist, said: “The award of this diverse set of contracts continues to demonstrate the OGA’s commitment to reviving exploration activity in the UKCS.

“Products resulting from the contracts will make significant additional contributions to the seismic, well and map-related data packs already released by the OGA.”

Meanwhile, the Norwegian classification group DNV-GL has highlighted how new technology could help address the challenges that health, safety and environment (HSE) managers face over the undetected degradation and weakening of safety barriers.

Koheila Molazemi, a risk assessment expert with the agency, said quantitative risk assessments (QRAs) had historically been mostly based on inspections and testing of safety equipment.

The challenge had been that changes such as degradation or weakening remained largely undetected, which could now be addressed using an app, MyQRA.

On her DNV-GL blog, she wrote: “MyQRA application helps you become more effective and transparent in risk communication across all levels of your organisation, as well as between multiple parties involved in projects and operations... it leverages all the data generated in a traditional QRA in an accessible, 3D online format showing hazards in a way that can be understood by all project stakeholders.”