It was a very demanding start for the International Research Institute of Stavanger in 2016, however via active measures in the organisation during the year, the situation changed for the better and we ended up overall with positive results both professionally and financially. The saving measures that were implemented in 2015 gradually yielded results, plus over the course of the year we received grants from applications for a large number of important research projects.
Among the good examples of activities commenced in 2016 is the “Demonstration of Automated Drilling Process Control” project, led by the Ullrigg Drilling and Well Centre (UBBS). Via this project, Ullrigg will be equipped with a fully automated robotised drilling package that will be integrated with other systems in order to show how various full-scale automated drilling processes could work. Among other professional activities in the field of petroleum research, we can mention Plug & Abandonment, which is one of the priority areas for IRIS Energy. Most of the research in this field is linked to DrillWell, which is a collaboration between the research communities in Stavanger and Trondheim. Another example is the establishment of a Nordic Centre for Bioeconomics. The project focuses on sustainable exploitation of the ocean and has the status as the Nordic Centre of Excellence with funding from NordForsk. The Centre is headed by IRIS and has partners involved in research as well as the business community in several Nordic countries. Our social science research has also received a lot of attention in the news media during 2016, and we have actively participated in the debate in society about important issues such as the oil industry and the need for change in the region.
With the slogan “It’s rock science”, IRIS again participated in the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS), this time at ONS in Stavanger. Theme was increased oil recovery and new drilling technology. This time we also had several technical lectures that covered many parts of our petroleum-related research activities. The stand was very well visited, by industry people, colleagues and politicians, and was nominated as the best stand.
In an evaluation report from the Research Council of Norway, IRIS receives a very good mention. Concerning IRIS’s strongest side, the report states that “IRIS has a leading position in the field of automated drilling, reservoir modelling and IOR/EOR.” The Institute has seen good operating results and good profitability over time. IRIS has also achieved significant financial gains via the sale of IRIS-initiated start-up companies. Among the recommendations that IRIS has received, that it needs to work more on exploring the possibilities with various opportunities for future partnerships or mergers. can be mentioned.
At the end of the year, a memorandum of understanding that could provide south and west Norway with a joint research company was launched. The agreement opens up the possibility that the Bergen-based Uni Research and CMR, IRIS with its headquarters in Stavanger, and Sørland’s Agder Research Institute social science research institute and Teknova, can be merged. The memorandum of understanding has been entered into by the owners of the five companies. In the announcement, it says i.a. that a new research company will make southern and western Norway leading in the field in the interaction between research, innovation and value creation.
At the end of the year, we were informed that our IRIS Forskningsinvest AS subsidiary had sold all its shares held in the technology company Calysta Inc. (USA). The proceeds from this sale will be invested in more and even better research, while providing a basis for further commercialisation of important applied research from IRIS.
All of these examples show how research and research activities at IRIS are creating value for society. Many more good examples of this are shown as highlights and value creation in the annual report.