The oil and gas industry continues to face a wealth of challenges, from market volatility and depleting resources to the effects of climate change. But the recent years have seen huge advances in technology that can help find, extract, and process raw oil and gas.
Oil and gas investment companies are leveraging digital technologies to power their exploration and production activities, unlocking maximum efficiency. Exploiting these technologies also allows them to gain a significant competitive advantage over their rivals.
A study by McKinsey also suggests that employing digital tools and analytics can help offshore operators reduce operational and capital expenses by 20 to 25 percent per barrel.
Below are some advanced technologies that can revolutionize the oil and gas industry.
1. Smart Oilfield
Smart technology has also penetrated the oil and gas sector, birthing the smart oilfield. Smart technology-powered oilfields have components that communicate on a single digital platform.
With this technology, oil and gas companies can monitor their assets remotely and receive critical data in real-time. They’re also notified immediately about emergencies, allowing them to respond quickly to prevent downtime.
The applications of smart technology in the oil and gas industry promise to optimize operations and improve reliability. For instance, midstream companies can utilize smart technology to update their aging infrastructures and elevate the security of their pipelines. This is a critical development, especially since the midstream energy sector loses $37.23 billion yearly due to thefts and fuel leaks.
Upstream companies can also use smart oilfield technology to optimize their processes. Smart technology makes data generation, storage, and processing much faster, increasing productivity. This advantage greatly benefits the upstream energy sector, given that it loses around $8 billion dollars annually due to non-productive time caused by poor data management.
Blockchain is another technology set to transform oil and gas explorations and production. Its inherent data security offers many solutions to the industry in terms of the safety and reliability of their operations.
First, oil and gas companies are drowning in data that can compromise the business if stolen. By integrating blockchain into their operations, companies can dramatically reduce the risk of manual error, fraud, and invalid transactions in energy trading.
Blockchain, when combined with pipeline sensors and plant processing equipment, can also be used for invoicing. The sensors collect data on production volumes while blockchain records, tracks, and executes contracts. Then, the sensors will notify the company that the contract terms are fulfilled once the agreed amount has been produced.
3. 4D Seismic Technology
Resource depletion is among the biggest concerns in the oil and gas industry. The threat of a supply crisis can paralyze many companies, even large ones. But with 4D seismic technology, oil and gas firms can monitor their hydrocarbon reserves more accurately.
3D technology looks at the width, height, and depth of oil and gas reserves, while 4D tracks the changes in a reservoir over time. Time-lapse or 4D seismic technology compares 3D surveys of one location taken at different times, noting minor and major changes over time.
Extraction causes changes in the reservoir’s shape, which show where production activities were concentrated. 4D technology notes the locations where hydrocarbons have already been drained and identify areas that are still rich in resources. This helps expedite the exploration process, giving oil and gas firms more time for midstream and downstream energy activities.
These are only a few of the technologies that can power the oil and gas sector. There are also some advancements aimed at reducing product wastage and minimizing environmental disruption. Ultimately, these innovations can revolutionize the industry, helping firms improve their operations and increase their efficiency, so they can continue to meet market demand and provide power to end-consumers.