Woodside is Australia’s leading natural gas producer, committed to providing sustainable energy solutions. Woodside is planning to remove oil production infrastructure from an offshore oil and gas field that has ceased production. These are flexible pipes, cylindrical pieces of equipment made of composite metals, and polymers. As part of Woodside’s commitment to providing sustainable energy solutions and creating opportunities for the communities where it operates, they are focused on finding alternative applications to repurpose these materials. The goal of the Flexible Pipes Lifecycle Challenge was to find options to repurpose or upcycle these pipes into applications outside of hydrocarbon production.
Woodside leveraged HeroX’s in-house expertise to design, manage and promote the crowdsourcing challenge. They worked with HeroX to help the crowd understand that the challenge was not about recycling the materials or about reusing the pipes within hydrocarbon production applications. Instead, ideal submissions were those that proposed novel and pragmatic ways of using the retired flexible piping. Judges awarded prizes in two different categories: Best Western Australia Solutions and Judges’ Choice Innovation Solutions. Winners of the first category had ideas that were implementable in Western Australia within the next 5 years, and winners of the second category had ideas applicable to other parts of Australia that might require longer than 5 years for implementation.
This challenge received 123 submissions from 21 countries. 29 submissions were short-listed for a more detailed review and ultimately, 9 entries were selected to receive a share of the $19,500 USD prize purse. Woodside received some really creative solutions. For example, several solutions proposed reusing pipes to carry sea water for various purposes, like desalination and renewable energy. Other solutions suggested using the pipes as part of a strategy to control beach erosion, or as a conduit to circulate water for cooling at solar power plants. Woodside Energy looks forward to exploring these ideas more, and looking at further opportunities to crowdsource.