In a new era of unconventional resources and energy independence, GE and Statoil are launching an Open Innovation Challenge to accelerate the development of more environmentally and economically sustainable energy solutions to help fuel the future.


Extracting oil and gas from shale rock requires a proppant, typically sand, to "prop open" fractures in the dense shale rock to allow the oil and gas to flow into the well bore that leads up to the well on the surface. As part of the hydraulic fracturing process, millions of pounds of sand are delivered to each well via several hundred truck loads. Although responsible operators take many steps to mitigate the impact of this traffic, transporting materials to drill sites can be disruptive if communities are nearby. Traffic brings with it noise, dust, and exhaust fumes, and the heavy loads can damage road surfaces. In addition, these truck trips drive up the cost and complexity of operations.


To minimize the number of truck trips needed during the drilling process, GE and Statoil are seeking innovative technologies to replace or reduce the amount of sand required for hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells. By identifying solutions that will reduce the number of truck loads required, the Challenge will help bring about an improvement on the environment for affected communities, reduce the overall emissions related to the transportation of proppant, and make energy production more sustainable over the long-term.


The innovative application of technology to the proven techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has unlocked vast energy potential from previously inaccessible shale rocks. Now, the industry must also advance the critical processes that are necessary for production, such as trucking. GE and Statoil are constantly seeking to improve the operations of oil and gas production and have launched this Challenge to invite innovators around the world to help identify better and more efficient ways to do business.