“One of the challenges preventing the development of domestic technologies is their complicated commercialization, as approbation and certification are required first before they are purchased by buyers. In the hydrocarbon production and refining industry this can be achieved in the field only - at a deposit or an oil-and-gas refining plant respectively, i.e. on test sites (in test centers),” specifies Alexander Amiragyan, the expert of the Analytical Center, in his article, published in the OilGasLaw journal.
The crucial role in organizing technological test sites for the oil and gas industry belongs to the state
Over the recent years, a depletion of the raw materials base in traditional producing regions of Russia has made it essential to develop complex hydrocarbon fields, including hard-to-recover reserves, which calls for new technologies in Russia. In his article "Scientific and Technological Test Sites in the Oil and Gas Industry as Means of Innovative Technologies Approbation”, the expert explores some options of technological test site establishment, particularly in the hydrocarbon production and refining industry.
According to Amiragyan, the crucial role in organizing the technological test sites for the oil and gas industry belongs to the state that is challenged with establishing a test site with a structure to share the costs and benefits of establishment and maintenance by the stakeholders. The Russian and international experience confirms that participation of the state is rather important for establishing and maintaining such test sites, though its role may eventually be less important.
Development of the technological test sites for oil and gas production is one of the ways of stimulating the development of industrial engineering in the hydrocarbon upstream. Some independent Russian suppliers of technology and equipment have demonstrated their special interest in having a system of test sites in place, as they hope to benefit from the lower price of access to the domestic market.
However, some issues regarding the financing of the test sites remain unresolved. To give some examples, the chance of this work being sponsored from the federal budget is very small; and there are no joint financing vehicles (engaging other users of mineral resources) or expenses recovery schemes. A system of intellectual property rights distribution, including allocation of income from using new technologies in the industry, has to be designed too.