The breadth and coverage of analytical expertise in the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) are unique assets that underpin IEA efforts to support innovation for energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. The 38 TCPs operating today involve about 6 000 experts from government, industry and research organisations in more than 50 countries1.

Gas and Oil Technologies (GOTCP)


Collaboration for safe, sustainable oil and gas production

Created in 2013, the GOTCP aims to catalyse innovation across oil and gas technologies and to provide collaborative opportunities for enhancing national capabilities within both onshore and offshore activities.  Co-operation between policy makers, research centres and companies to examine safety and environmental aspects of gas and oil technologies would reduce risks and increase economic and environmental benefits. 

The Atlantis oil and gas facility moored at greatest depth worldwide - 2.1 km below sea level - and 305 km from shore.*

As many existing oil and gas (O&G) reservoirs have been in operation for some time, with their best producing years behind them, new deposits must be found to satisfy demand. However, with O&G from the more accessible resources in decline, exploration is focusing increasingly on “frontier” areas such as deep ocean waters, which present higher risks (safety, environment) as well as additional costs. In addition, exploration of unconventional O&G is raising new environmental concerns. Developing and deploying advanced technologies are crucial if these fossil fuels are to be produced in a safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable manner. 

Since its creation in 2013, the GOTCP has promoted dialogue among high-level government officials, senior executives from multinational O&G companies and the research community to share solutions to their respective challenges and outline areas for further co-operation.

Participants recommend that governments maintain a consistent, balanced regulatory environment that ensures the safety of employees and protects the environment while at the same time providing financial incentives to O&G companies to invest in further R&D.

National public-private initiatives are already addressing some elements of safety and environmental issues, with noteworthy examples being Norway, with its DEMO 2000 Programme, and the United States, with the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America. Connecting these efforts via an international forum, where stakeholders are able to carry out joint activities, was a means to facilitate safer and more sustainable global fossil energy development worldwide. A best practice that provides for 1% of income from production to be invested in R&D was initially adopted by Norway and is now implemented by O&G producers in Brazil, Canada and Kazakhstan.

Technology plays an important role in ensuring safe operation and reducing environmental risk. Yet once a technology has been developed, having it adopted by O&G producers faces challenges. Establishing funding for pilot programmes was identified as one solution. Even then, however, further challenges exist. For example, the technology designed to improve safety must be developed based on the needs of O&G operators (easily implemented) and, without regulation, a technology to reduce environmental risk may not be purchased or adopted at all. Connecting development of a technology, regulation and deployment of that technology in the field is seen as an important value added for the GOTCP.

Given the risks associated with offshore production, co-operation between O&G companies with complementary strengths makes economic sense. Sharing data, computational modelling techniques and R&D of new materials were identified as possible areas for co-operation. Yet technology manufacturers may be reluctant to co-operate as their respective technologies were designed to maintain a competitive advantage. In October 2014 a workshop held by GOTCP in Washington, D.C. highlighted best practices for innovation in other sectors applicable to O&G production. The high-level dialogue, facilitated by the GOTCP, achieved the desired outcome: conference participants expressed keen interest in working together to address common issues relating to deep-water offshore O&G production.

* Photo courtesy of BP America


  • Conventional hydrocarbon technologies
  • Innovation challenges and responses
  • Licence to operate innovation
  • Unconventional hydrocarbon technologies


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1. Information or material of the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes, or IEA TCPs (formally organised under the auspices of an Implementing Agreement), including information or material published on this website, does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of the IEA’s individual Member countries. The IEA does not make any representation or warranty (express or implied) in respect of such information (including as to its completeness, accuracy or non-infringement) and shall not be held liable for any use of, or reliance on, such information.