Nicholas Newman Rigzone March 2016
On a visit to Shell’s Rijswijk Technology Centre at Rijswijk in Amsterdam, Rigzone contributor Nicholas Newman finds out the key ingredients behind the firm’s strong innovation record.
Royal Dutch Shell plc established its reputation for ground-breaking innovation with the design and construction of the world’s first commercial liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Algeria in 1964. Today, the need to be ever more innovative is crucial, given the crash in oil and gas prices, which is forcing extreme cuts throughout the industry value chain. In addition, the fossil fuel industry is coming under pressure from the adoption of policies aimed at combating climate change making long-term investments commercially much more difficult to justify.
“Currently, Shell employs 93,000 people and spends $1.1 billion on R&D [research and development],” Shell spokesperson Wendel Broere told Rigzone at a recent event at the Shell Technology Centre in the Netherlands. Despite this it has realised it needs more bang for its bucks.
According to Dr. Victor Newman, Industrial Fellow at Greenwich University, London, Shell “has realized that, despite the presence of internal excellence, there are smart people and technologies in the external world, that can add value to their innovation portfolio”. Change came in 1996, when the company implemented its Shell GameChanger Program that according to Marian Marino, who heads the program for Shell, “identifies and nurtures unproven ideas that have the potential to drastically impact the future of energy”.