With the amount of attention paid to alternative energy, you would think that one of the biggest extraction industries, the oil and gas industry, would be on life support by now. Instead we have seen how the role of technology has aided engineers to grow it. From the development of pinpoint riser analysis that lowers the risk of deep sea platforms to new technologies that can withstand sub-zero temperatures, new methods have made the oil industry capable of taking bigger risks for bigger rewards.
Beyond the basics there are some technologies from outside the industry that have become so embedded it is hard to image the extraction of these coveted resources without them. Here are just three that are helping the oil and gas industry not only hold its own in a world that sees its product as an energy source of the past but will also continue to help it reinvent its own growth patterns.
The Digital Oilfield
If you have never heard this phrase before you haven’t walked an oilfield recently. This phrase has become the catchphrase for the emergence of the digital world and the arrival of big data to the oil industry. The development of software specifically for capturing data from all elements of an oilfield, and then synthesizing that data into one big picture, has not only captured the imagination of engineers on the field, but also the guys in the big offices.
This new use of software enables the companies to pull significant data from across several oil fields or similar data from one field and analyse it for productivity, future use and any other data they care to create. The end result is a report that can help them to optimize their return on each individual field and to at the same time cut down on downtime caused by a lack of information.
Recovering Inaccessible Oil
Another new technology recently introduced into the industry has allowed many companies to find that hard to find oil field. The days of oil gushers sitting near the surface are long gone, and what oil is left to be recovered tends to be either in remote locations such as the Alaskan shore or so far down that it is hard to detect.
New technologies are making it easier to track likely sources, send a tracker to discover the source and return with real information. Then, the introduction of new laser technology helps make the difficult job of breaking down rocks to get at the source for extraction that much faster and easier.
Fracking and Other Ingenious Technologies
There was a time when the kind of oil we see today would have been considered too difficult to extract in the first place. Oil that is hidden deep inside rock or mixed in soil was considered too costly to extract. But the development of fracking technologies has changed that story. With the development of these new fracking techniques the extraction of oil in such remote or unlikely places can be done and with a clear profit in mind.
All of these methods are just the beginning of new and exciting technologies being developed to continue to make the oil and gas industry not only relevant but a vital part of our world-wide economy.