TechWorks is Shell’s influential innovation center based in Boston, MA that focuses on rapidly identifying, de-risking, and developing new technologies across the business. Our diverse group of technical experts and entrepreneurial business leaders from outside Oil & Gas help Shell find the right solutions to the right problems.
In 2013, Projects & Technology created TechWorks as an experiment with a goal of establishing an innovation team with backgrounds outside of the energy industry to advance Shell’s short-term product development capabilities. A unique group of Systems Engineers, technologists and entrepreneurs from various industries including Aerospace, Consumer Electronics, Robotics and Automotive were brought together to apply proven problem-solving methodologies and agile ways of working at Shell.
TechWorks leverages partners from within Boston’s local innovation ecosystem which is filled with emerging energy startups, industry-leading enterprises and world-class academia to strategically deliver new value to Shell.
Today, TechWorks continues to operate as a commercial startup within Shell and champions a breadth of engineering capabilities necessary for addressing our evolving operational needs and technology trends.
TechWorks collaborates with teams across all lines of Shell’s business to help identify high-value opportunities and deliver solutions that address operational challenges, reduce HSSE risks, and deliver more and cleaner energy. Our Product Development approach is driven by System Engineering and Design Thinking principles to rapidly develop prototypes and mature them into products that deliver real value to Shell.
TechWorks specializes in the following areas of solutions:
Understanding complex systems and data trends in order to identify and quantify high value of opportunities.
The development, testing, and verification processes that turn ideas into prototypes and functional products.
Deployment & Productization
Scaling solutions and guiding adoption into Shell’s business through collaboration with internal partners and external vendors.
TechWorks delivers value to Shell in a variety of forms stemming from our two foundational pillars: Systems and Product Engineering. Deliverables may be in the form of a roadmap for establishing a new technology program, a field trial of a custom-built prototype, or a fit-for-purpose integration of hardware and software.
Here are some examples of our commercialized products:
Smart Torque System (STS)
The Smart Torque System (STS) is an integrated digital bolt management system that pairs a Bluetooth-enabled digital torque wrench with a mobile tablet interface to capture and store flange records in a cloud-hosted data platform. STS enables real-time data tracking and automates record keeping of flange management activities.
The mobile interface guides torqueing teams to accurately torque each flange to the correct value as it’s recorded in the cloud. The platform improves overall traceability and accountability of bolt tightening operations, thereby reducing in-process inspection time and LOPC events during start-up due to improper flange management. TechWorks has successfully deployed multiple large-scale pilot programs of STS at Shell Jurong Island, Shell Pearl GTL, and Shell Scotford. STS is now a commercialization product and a self-operating business unit known as CumulusTM.
The WeldScout inspection tool developed by TechWorks is a transformative approach to utilizing Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) to perform non-destructive evaluations of structural steel and pipe welds. WeldScout delivers improvements over industry-standard radiographic approaches to NDE by reducing the time spent on non-destructive evaluation while also reducing cost, lowering HSSE risk and driving downtime towards zero.
The system automates portions of the PAUT NDE weld inspection review process, enabling inspectors to disposition weld data safely, remotely, and with greater speed than current processes allow. Since becoming a commercialized product, WeldScout continues to help increase adoption of PAUT NDE Inspection while decreasing inspection and data processing time by over 50% for all Shell capital projects that use PAUT.
In consultation with Buster Stewart, Drilling Superintendent of Noble Globetrotter 1 (NGT1), TechWorks developed and patented the Buster Tool to function test the BOP significantly faster and safer than the traditional pipe-in pipe-out method. The Buster Tool improves HSSE and reduces the time required to conduct the BOP function test by roughly 10 hours, resulting in significantly less rig down time.
After the initial pilot deployment proved highly successful, Bust Tool was commercialized for widescale use at Shell and continues to save millions of dollars annually in OPEX expenditures.
Shell H2 Power Dispenser
Shell’s New Energies business is actively pursuing the development and deployment of Hydrogen mobility infrastructure in Europe, Canada, the United States, as well as China. New Energies has established a Global Product Development team and TechWorks supports this function with technical and engineering resources. One of the key breakthroughs in this collaboration was the redesign of the Shell H2 Power Dispenser.
The product aims to maximize the refueling experience by developing an enhanced, intuitive user interface and providing a recognizable aesthetic to further promote Shell’s iconic hydrogen branding. TechWorks aided the product development team with the redesigning a late stage concept into an industry-differentiated product.
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