Measurement and Testing

How is Big Oil Becoming More Efficient?

May 12 2017 Comments 0

If there’s one thing the oil industry isn’t credited for, it’s efficiency. But despite its cash guzzling reputation, new announcements from a trio of oil majors have confirmed that ‘Big Oil’ is making enormous efficiency gains.

While just a few years ago production growth was front of mind, the landscape has drastically changed. Now, efficiency and costs are top priorities. This newfound thriftiness has since been made clear, with Shell, BP and Baker Hughes all planning to lower exploration budgets, and push down drilling costs.

Let’s talk numbers

So how have things changed? According to Shell, the post-oil price crash crisis isn’t as bad as some critics make out. In fact, deepwater well drilling in the Gulf now calls for 30% less time, and 50% less investment. Ben van Beurden offers a succinct summary, commenting “If the world needs deepwater oil, which it does, it’s going to obviously economically make sense to develop the lowest-development-cost oil first.”

BP followed suit, and recently revealed that improved seismic imaging technology has played an important role in reviving its Atlantis field in the Gulf of Mexico. Essentially, the technology allows it to generate crisp images that paint an accurate picture of oil reserves.  The result has been a production increase of around 200 million barrels. The outcome has been so positive that the company is now considering deploying the technology across its GOM fields, as well as sites in Azerbaijan, Angola, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Then, US owned Baker Hughes unveiled “a revolutionary multistage fracturing service” designed exclusively for deepwater drilling. Touted as ‘DeepFrac’ technology, it promises to slash drilling times and expenses, while simultaneously increasing crude oil yields. According to developers, it could reduce operating expenses by up to 40% per well, and reduce timelines by 25 days.

An efficiency shift

Given the volatile state of the oil and gas industry, this efficiency shift is long overdue. And chances are, more efficiency breakthroughs will emerge over the next few months. With the electric vehicles, renewable energy and the second shale revolution looming, the shift couldn’t come sooner.

As well as extraction, the pharmaceutical industry is also working hard to reduce its costs. For a closer look at how new technologies are helping to increase flow path efficiency, ‘How to Prevent Process Analytical System Failures’ is a must read article. Spotlighting issues like corrosion, inertness, adsorption and desorption, it offers an in-depth glimpse at how SilcoTek’s inert coatings can help maintain a high-performance, high output sampling system.

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