Jonathan Holt, Drilling Technology Portfolio Leader, BP in Aberdeen, has won a prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal for his outstanding personal contribution to BPs “No Drilling Surprises” project.

Jonathan, who “provided project leadership, drive, vision, and business focus to a ground-breaking collaborative multi-discipline project, that has generated in excess of £100mm of benefit to BP alone” will receive his medal at the Academy Awards Dinner in London on Thursday 10 June.

The main focus of the "No Drilling Surprises" (NDS) project has been to identify, and visualise potential overburden geological hazards within a 3D environment (HIVE™) before starting drilling. 3D visualisation software that could be updated in real time during drilling was developed in order to display hazards. Formation pressure prediction from seismic and basin modelling were developed and integrated together inside a 3D volume to improve communication across disciplines, optimise well design and reduce safety risks during drilling. Both of these developments were industry firsts.

The program, initiated by BP in collaboration with Schlumberger, has generated significant operational improvements in the construction of oil and gas wells throughout the world. Within BP this project is predicted to sustain £70million per annum of value delivery though continued application of NDS. Outwith BP, the success of the project has allowed Schlumberger to effectively market this technology to the industry as a whole and realise £60million revenue in 2003 alone .

The project also led to the initiation of a cross-industry standard protocol to transfer data between oil operators and service companies that is now used globally across the upstream oil and gas industry and now also in the emerging electronic oil field.

Bringing together a multidisciplinary team across many locations, Jonathan Holt mapped the process into a Global BP initiative (Beyond the Best) within twelve months of project initiation.

Notes for editors

  1. The Academy’s Silver Medals, instigated in 1995, are awarded annually to engineers aged 50 or under who have made outstanding contributions to British engineering. Only four awards may be made each year.
  2. This year’s other Silver Medals go to Stephen Brown CEng, MIStructE, partner for London-based Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, Stuart Moran, CEng, MBA, Managing Director, Surgical Innovations Limited, Leeds and Professor Christopher Snowden, PhD, FREng, CEng, FIEE, FIEEE, CEO Filtronic Integrated Compound Semiconductors.
  3. Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Dr. Claire McLoughlin at the Royal Academy of Engineering