Innovation and development at Vår Energi is ultimately dependent on our ability to face the future and deliver on our long term plans and objectives – value creation, safety and sustainability.

Helge Vigrestad is head of Digitalisation & Innovation at Vår Energi. His team consists of professionals with a variety of backgrounds in terms of education and experience. A team with extensive subsea-experiences, geologists, civil engineers, technical engineers, offshore operation experiences and business sector experiences – together they serve as a connection between Vår Energi’s different departments and central management.

– Our mission is to find new and better ways to work in terms of the company’s ambition, as well as ensure that we are capable of implementing new solutions and extract the potential value. In many ways we are a connection between the visionary, the strategic, and the operational. We ensure that these elements are put into context, Vigrestad says.

Energy for the future

Vår Energi works with research, innovation and development in three ways:

  • Adaptation projects 
  • Internalt development projects 
  • Research

The adaptation projects are projects that are a part of the daily operations and have a clear objective from the start. Internal development projects are projects: additive manufacturing (3D printing), decentralized data platforms and digital twins. These projects are more exploratory – what can we use these tools for, and how?

Research is exercised at the major Norwegian educational institutions such as the University of Bergen, the University of Stavanger and NTNU where Vår Energi is a partner and sponsor on several projects. 

In addition to the research projects at Norwegian educational institutions, we also support Low Emission Centre and Norwegian CCS Research Centre (NCCS), which is run by the independent research organization SINTEF. The research from NCCS is directed towards the storage of CO2 in the North sea.

Bringing projects to life

According to Vigrestad the process of how a new innovation project occurs is complex. In some cases the innovation initiative is from regulated mandates granted by the government. While in other cases we look to partners and other markets, or the initiative comes from operational units internal at Vår Energi.

-Regardless of the origin of our innovation project, our jobs consist of two things: to connect the idea with Vår Energi’s overall business strategy, and to bring the project to life. This also entails the “fail fast” principle. If we regard this project as not doable, we will shut it down before moving onto the next project, says Vigrestad.

Bringing innovation and development projects to life requires an ability to see the potential value as a whole, while also recognising the chances for successful adaptation.

-We are to ensure the delivery of high quality and “operational excellence”. The value of an innovation project also depends on the implementation of the project. If we develop something just for it to be placed in a drawer, we have lost the whole value of the projects, he explains.

From strategy to reality to success

It is when innovation projects are implemented we see success. Innovation requires you to think differently about your workday and change routines and methods, which might have been done the same way for a long time.

– We will soon be implementing a project related to digital field work. This means all operational employees offshore will start using digital handheld units for their work day. The project is a really exciting one with a major gain within efficiency.  The operators also see great value, and several employees have already started using handheld devices even though they have been using paper documents for several years, Vigrestad shares.

The first success stories from Digitalisation & Innovation are often projects with energy management, where we have not only seen major gains within efficiency, but also with a large contribution to the reduction of  greenhouse gas emissions.

– Another successful project we brought to life was automated production reports with digital and live dashboards. Collecting all the data into a seamless and automated report central provided a great deal of value, says Vigrestad.

–  We want to be a motor for change, an internal “creative hub”. All the while with the goal of succeeding, Vigrestad elaborate.