FASTrac is 10 Years Old



From left: Dr Lorraine Boak, Robin Shields, Prof. Eric Mackay, Mike Singleton and Prof. Ken Sorbie

The FAST (Flow Assurance and Scale Team) Joint Industry Project (JIP) is a research project which was initially launched in 1989 (by Professors Ken Sorbie and Adrian Todd); it was originally called the OSRG (Oilfield Scale Research Group). This JIP has been continuously funded since then over the 26 years to the present day. We are currently in the FAST5 JIP (2013 – 2016) which is a £2.9million project supported by 24 industrial sponsors with Co-PIs Professors Eric Mackay, Ken Sorbie and Anne Neville (Leeds University).

In January 2005, FASTrac was set up as the commercial arm of the FAST JIP. Prior to this point FAST (and OSRG), had been challenged to apply their research findings in the field and had undertaken consultancy projects for sponsor and non-sponsor companies on an ad-hoc basis. However, in 2005 Professor Ken Sorbie saw an opportunity to capitalize on the increasing interest of the industry in performing such one-to-one projects, by setting up a group solely to do this and hence FASTrac (FAST research and consultancy) was born.

Initially the activity consisted of two staff members (Mike Singleton – FASTrac Director and Robin Shields – now Chemical EOR Specialist), who have now been joined by an additional six members of staff over the last decade. Their first study was for BP, looking into the mechanisms of Low Salinity Water Flooding (LoSalTM), and recently this work provided an Impact Case Study for the Heriot-Watt/Edinburgh University 2014 REF submission in General Engineering.

Research with real impact

Since 2005 FASTrac has undertaken 227 studies for 47 different companies, including oil operators, service companies and chemical manufacturers. The projects have contributed to oil and gas production all over the world, from the North Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, South America to West Africa, Russia, the Middle East and Asia, with a total turnover of £5 million in that 10 year period.

Building on the expertise from the FAST research project, FASTrac’s expertise now includes Scale Management and Chemical EOR (Polymer and Low Salinity Water Flooding), with its services including experimental research projects, modelling and simulation studies, general consultancy, equipment manufacture and training. In addition to its commercial activity, FASTrac also contributes significantly to FAST’s research activity in what is a very symbiotic relationship, supporting the launch of three 3 year phases of the research JIP since its inception.