“Our member companies are really focused on operating responsibly, with a minimal effect on the environment. They’ll come to us with a challenge on a specific topic, and we’ll reach out into the research and innovation community for solutions.”

- Dave Finn, PRNL

As technology advances rapidly, the offshore oil and gas industry is always working to innovate and develop new practices. That’s where Petroleum Research Newfoundland & Labrador (PRNL) shines. A not-for-profit organization, PRNL’s mandate is to facilitate and fund research and development on behalf of Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas industry, contributing to safe, responsible and reliable operations.

One of Petroleum Research Newfoundland & Labrador’s key roles is connecting large oil producers with the right people in the scientific research and business communities. By providing project management expertise, they’re able to ensure that milestones are met, research guidelines are being followed, and outcomes are delivered. In addition, PRNL handles the dissemination of funding and makes sure it’s being spent effectively. Since 2012, PRNL has managed more than $60 million in R&D investment capital. Since production began in 1997 the industry has invested over $500 million in research and development, and education and training in the province.

With a wide portfolio of projects, a key focus for PRNL is environmental protection. One current project looks at how environmental DNA can be used to characterize and monitor changes in the marine environment. This is critical as oil and gas activity falls under ever-tightening environmental guidelines.

When asked about what’s in store for the future of PRNL in a challenging time for the industry, interim CEO Dave Finn remained optimistic, “Our members are committed to research and innovation for the long term, it’s essential. We’ve helped establish the Ocean Supercluster, a $150 million dollar investment from the Government of Canada matched by private sector partners. It’s a unique opportunity, and the enthusiasm for joint collaboration across different industries that operate in this harsh marine environment is tremendous. We can learn a lot from each other. We’re also focused on digitalization to accelerate the adoption of remote and autonomous operations and reducing the footprint of our offshore operations. Reducing emissions is inherent in everything we talk about.”

The work that Petroleum Research Newfoundland & Labrador does is imperative to driving innovation. Through collaboration, PRNL is helping to ensure a robust and sustainable future for NL’s offshore oil and gas industry.

Contributor bio

David Finn, Interim Chief Executive Officer
Petroleum Research Newfoundland & Labrador

Originally from Grand Falls-Windsor, Dave has Bachelor and Master of Engineering degrees from Memorial University in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering, and worked in Ottawa and Houston before joining PRNL in 2006.