COP21 to spur energy innovation

By Peter Stewart 22 October 2015
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Peterhead CCS project, United Kingdom. With prices low, gas should be making bigger inroads against coal in the power sector with the help of carbon capture and storage. (Shell) Peterhead CCS project, United Kingdom. With prices low, gas should be making bigger inroads against coal in the power sector with the help of carbon capture and storage. (Shell)

Technological innovation recurrently throws up game-changers that reshape the energy industry. But often decades pass between the laboratory prototype of a new technology and its development on a commercial scale. 

There are many examples. The use of floating structures such as FPSOs and FSRUs was pioneered in the early 2000s, and they are only just reaching scale, while floating LNG (FLNG) is just around the corner. Horizontal drilling was developed on a commercial scale in the 1980s and ushered in a revolution in oil and gas development from shale two decades later. Hydraulic fracturing has even deeper roots; it was developed at scale in the 1960s, although early attempts date back to the 1860s. 

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