Statoil and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) have formed a partnership to explore how technologies and knowledge from the space and oil and natural gas industries can be relevant to one another, the Norway-based company said.

The contract, which is expected to run through 2018 (with an option of contract extension), will focus on supercomputing, materials, robotics, development of new tools and communication optionality. The partnership will assist Statoil in the search for oil and gas exploration and production efforts, which are increasingly moving into frontier regions, Statoil said.

“Searching for oil and gas resources has become so advanced technically over the past decade that new solutions and ideas are needed,” said Lars Hoier, Statoil acting senior vice president of research, development and innovation. “To Statoil, this is a significant opportunity to take technologies developed by NASA and JPL [NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory] for the harsh and challenging environments of space and apply them to the equally demanding environments of oil and gas production.”

NASA signed a similar agreement with Chevron Corp. in 2011 (see Daily GPI,July 27, 2011).

Statoil has a history of collaborating on energy research projects. Two years ago the company teamed with researchers at the University of Texas (UT) to investigate improved development and drainage of shale plays (see Shale Daily,Sept. 20, 2011).

Statoil and NOAA, along with a Royal Dutch Shell plc unit and ConocoPhillips, agreed in 2011 to work together on ocean, coastal and climate science for the Arctic (see Daily GPI,Aug. 29, 2011). The companies agreed to share with NOAA several scientific data sets for the mostly frontier region.

Statoil spends about US$550 million annually on research, development and innovation, Hoier said.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. Its National Space Technology Applications Office develops the division’s sustaining business by collaborating with elements of the four national space sectors: military, intelligence, civil and commercial.