Oil and gas companies worldwide might be tightening the reins on spending, but more dollars are being directed toward certain industry segments. A survey released this week by Lloyd's Register Energy at OTC 2014 showed that 34% of the respondents plan to increase R&D spending by at least 10% in the next two years. Improving operational efficiency, improving safety and reducing costs were identified as the top three drivers of research and innovation, according to a news release about the Technology & Innovation Radar survey. “The preliminary results indicate we can expect strong growth for technology,” said John Wishart, president of Lloyd’s Register Energy. “With emission regulations and rising energy costs, the oil and gas sector will benefit from a clearer understanding of the potential innovation scenarios to meet future energy demands and provide robust energy supply.” Among the areas gaining the most interest by the survey’s responders are subsea and remote technology. Other areas gaining attention include utilizing nanotechnology for EOR in new fields—both onshore and offshore—as well as finding ways to increase uptime and efficiency. As easy oil gets harder to find and attention turns toward frontier areas and resurrecting mature fields, companies are relying more on technology, and this will be a requirement for meeting the world’s growing energy needs in the future. The surge in oil and gas production from unconventional reservoirs in the U.S., for example, shows what innovative technology, in this case hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, is capable of producing. As the industry digs deeper offshore and into frontier areas, new technological advances are being announced frequently, helping to make possible what was once thought impossible. Lloyd’s Register also pointed out that it’s not just the world’s major oil and gas companies that are spending more on technology. National oil companies and state-backed operators are upping spend. In addition, “oil and gas companies will engage in greater collaboration for R&D in the future by establishing partnerships, creating joint ventures and acquiring startups,” Lloyd’s Register said in the release. Survey findings also suggested that advances in technology will push back peak oil, and the majority of the survey respondents think innovation is speeding up. “While technology is moving ahead faster than regulation, society and governments are becoming more demanding in their expectations from regulators, and engineering systems have become more complicated and integrated,” Wishart said. But “the current findings underline that new technology is not a barrier. It is seen as the catalyst for a better performing oil and gas sector and a competitive necessity among the key operators.” The survey was released as thousands of people from around the world converged in Houston for OTC, which puts the latest advances in offshore technology in the spotlight while also providing educational, networking and deal-making opportunities for participants. Findings from the survey will be formally announced in a Technology & Innovation Radar report scheduled to be unveiled in June. More than 250 oil and gas professionals and executives from 17 countries and from companies with up to $20 billion in annual revenue were surveyed. Of these, 64% were managers and 36% held positions as directors or above, the release said. Contact the author, Velda Addison, at vaddison@hartenergy.com.