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Stena Drilling Developing ideas through an innovative culture

Stena Drilling Developing ideas through an innovative culture


Building an innovative culture in an organisation is key to long-term sustainable success. It provides the organisation the ability to internally generate ideas, and then turn those ideas into solutions that add value. In an offshore drilling environment, an innovative culture benefits the drilling contractor and the operator through improved HS&E and operational performance.

Stena Drilling, an ultra-deepwater offshore drilling contractor with a global footprint, is driven by three core values; Care, Innovation & Performance. Innovation is in Stena Drilling’s DNA, and the development of an innovative culture means that there is a constant generation of ideas within the organisation, with employees always tasked with considering how processes can be improved. These ideas can be small tweaks to critical path operations offshore driven by front line employees but also large-scale capital investments in new technologies that drive the company forward as a leader in offshore industry. 

Stena Drilling understand that innovation stems from People, Process & Technology working together harmoniously, and over the course of a number of years has developed a process of Ideate, Implement, Test, Deploy and Repeat to nurture innovation.


The company’s innovation culture begins with highly skilled teams both on and offshore.  Subject Matter Experts are provided opportunities to develop ‘skills for the future’ through comprehensive training and competency programmes. In turn this knowledge and experience is used to further improve the business, which has a positive impact on the delivery of wells for Clients.

Those involved directly with processes are the ones who have the deepest understanding of the challenges and problems encountered during performance.  By allowing employees the space and opportunity to consider these challenges, innovative solutions are developed. Stena Drilling encourages this type of questioning and creativity, and because of this it is clear within the organisation that everyone feels that change is possible. Regular and proactive communication to all employees that innovations can come from anywhere and, more importantly, anyone in the organisation nurtures this innovative culture. The mindset within Stena Drilling is ‘if someone comes up with a good idea - why wouldn't it work and how can the barriers be reduced?’  


With a proactive innovative culture developed, another natural barrier to innovation is ineffective process. Recognising this, Stena Drilling have developed an innovation process designed to leverage the unique core competencies of our onshore and offshore teams. Emphasis is placed on innovations being a cross departmental activity, to minimise silos across the organisation and encourage diversity of skills and thought.  This allows for clear and rapid communication of innovative thinking within the organisation.

When a promising idea is developed the use of an agile methodology enables Stena Drilling to rapidly spin up teams to work directly on the project to take the ideas from concept to reality in a short timeframe.
The innovation process also caters to understanding long term strategic trends and market forces to help the organisation better understand what the guiding stars for Innovation should be. As an example, Stena Drilling recently embarked on a companywide process of envisioning the offshore drilling market in 2030.

The project explored future trends in the energy sector, looking at how Stena Drilling’s current core competencies could be leveraged and pivoted to add value in a time of change and challenge. This framework for developing long term innovative thinking has helped to define the future strategic priorities of the organisation and understand how the company’s current internal innovation process can be geared towards this. A key element in the success of this project came from the involvement and engagement of a wide range of our employees. This allowed for greater diversity of thought, whilst ensuring greater ownership and empowerment to our employees for all future innovations.


With mindset and process addressed, one of the final challenges for generation of innovative ideas is having a suitable platform for submission of ideas. At the heart of Stena Drilling’s innovation process is the innovation platform, which is open to all employees. Using a bespoke digital technology, individuals can share innovative ideas with a clear explanation as to what benefit this can provide to the company and end-client. The software platform ‘Nexus’ encapsulates the principles of innovation at Stena Drilling; allowing innovations to be input that can add value from anywhere and anyone in the organisation. The software, which is now available for purchase for external organisations due to its success internally, provides an easy platform for the submission of ideas from both onshore and offshore. 

“The excitement around the opportunity and challenge of the energy transition is something MatthewsDaniel is prepared for, and we look forward to supporting our clients as they move into this new phase in their businesses.”

When determining the value of innovation to the business, Stena Drilling look to three key drivers of success: improving safety, enhancing performance, and improving the service offering to clients. There are numerous innovations that have been successfully ideated, implemented, tested, and deployed that have delivered significant lasting value to the business.

As would be expected, these innovations come in many shapes and sizes. Some are minor modifications, such as the modification of processes and equipment to remove personnel from dangerous (red zone) areas offshore, while others are more significant leading to significant capital investment and a change to Stena Drilling’s value offering to clients. Recent examples of these ‘company shifting’ ideas include increased investment in automated drilling technologies, the decision to become the leading deepwater Managed Pressure Drilling contractor and investment in digital twin technologies to further improve already impressive operational uptime performance.

Ultimately however, each successful innovation cumulatively drives Stena Drilling to the forefront of technology in the Energy sector.

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE

Published: 16-03-2022

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