Welcome to the latest issue of Offshore Technology Focus. 

What poses the greatest threat to oil and gas workers: the rigs on which they operate, or the legislative framework governing their operations? At first, this is a straightforward question – rigs are remote, mechanised environments whereas the sector’s governance exists almost primarily to ensure worker safety – but an incident in the UK has reopened this question.

The disappearance of an offshore worker from a rig on the UK Continental Shelf has plunged the region into uncertainty, as various companies and legal bodies grapple with the complexities of their overlapping safety regulations, and appear to be frozen by indecision, as none are certain under whose jurisdiction the investigation of this disappearance should fall. Yet with more than a month having passed since the worker in question disappeared, there are growing concerns that all actors involved in the incident are becoming caught up in red tape, instead of searching for a missing person.

Elsewhere, we ask how and why Big Oil has posted record-breaking profits in 2022, despite much of the Western world being caught in a spiralling cost of energy crisis, and investigate the impacts on the global oil and gas industry of one of this crisis’ key triggers, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as we pass the one-year anniversary of the conflict.

We also consider the impacts of the Nigerian election on the African oil sector in particular, and assess the role of a range of innovative technologies in the sector, from biodegradable lubricants and efficient batteries to carbon capture and storage.

For all this and more, read on.

JP Casey, editor