Another revolution… really? There are probably too many revolutions happening in the oil and gas sector – the information revolution, the environmental revolution… and more. Is it hyperbole to suggest there is a revolution in the use of digital technology? Yet, there are some commentators that go so far as to suggest that digital technology will be the saviour of the sector. Big talk. So, the key question is: what evidence is there to support this view that AI, cloud computing and connectivity, and robotics could rejuvenate a sector under pressure? The problem we face The oil and gas sectorRead more
The shale industry is impacted by the levels of oil production in other areas. When oil demand is satisfied easily then the prices go down. This is a truth about the oil industry full stop – whether it is shale or traditional oil exploration and production. However, this is not the first question that needs to be asked about shale. The first question that anyone looking on at the shale industry would ask is: why are the prices per barrel so much lower for shale? Global oil reached a robust price of $70 to $80 a barrel recently – butRead more
The problem of Big Data The oil and gas sector is no different to any other industry – it is overwhelmed by more analytics than it can possibly cope with. Big Data may seem like a term coined in management conferences – but, in reality, it is as much of a challenge to oil and gas as elsewhere. The rewards that might come from harnessing its potential are high – but so are the difficulties in making this a reality. The exploration, production and delivery of oil and gas supplies is complex. The Big Data produced might not be theRead more
What are the causes of the increased confidence in the oil and gas sector? Confidence is high is the oil and gas sector. Stocks are on track to show the best performance since 2011. Recently US crude oil hit a 3-year high. Production is up, 22% according to the SPDR, and areas of underperformance have been highlighted and addressed. This has resulted in the revival of $110 billion in oil and gas sector projects since early 2017. At times of prosperity it is always important to reflect on why confidence has risen, and performance improved. It is especially important toRead more
The end is nigh A council in Colorado, US, recently voted to stop all surface drilling within the city and its limits. The case against surface drilling was the health and safety of the residents. Does this tell the whole story? Not really. The council has still approved fracking under the nearby lake as a necessary compromise under the current laws. Therefore, although politicians seem to be moving towards acting against the drilling rights of oil and gas companies, their reach is limited. In Dorking, UK, 100,000+ signatures were gathered in February of this year demanding the Environment Agent refuseRead more
Oil and gas prices may be looking up slightly but margins are still incredibly tight and companies are constantly trying to make their operations more efficient. As there is so much data involved in decisions, proposals and forecasting, there were serious efficiency savings to be made in the way all this data was processed because it was taking teams of people months or even years to put together proposal documents. IBM’s Natural Resource Solutions Centre (NRSC) in Calgary, Canada, recently worked with Minestar Group Corp. to come up with a data processing solution to increase productivity while improving efficiency andRead more
Palm oil has long been used to produce biodiesel as an alternative to fossil fuels but this supposedly environmentally friendly alternative has become problematic in recent years. Not only is it proving to not be as good for the planet as previously believed, the farming of it has seriously affected indigenous people in the areas causing a human rights concern. The European Union are being pressured to take action and have approved draft legislation to do so. Alternatives are still being sought. Environmental Concerns Although biodiesel was intended to lower carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases, a recent study byRead more
As oil prices begin to rise and exploration of the North Sea yields promising results, investment is returning to the area, in particular, with two large projects from energy big hitters BP and Centrica. These firms are injecting new life into this area by drilling new wells in mature fields and exploring new fields. Although there are environmental concerns about greatly increasing production from this area, this increased investment is predicted to be just the start in a return to interest in the North Sea.
Aviation produces 2% of the world’s human-induced carbon dioxide emissions and the demand for air travel is predicted to double over the next 20 years. As such, the industry is desperately looking for new ways to reduce their emissions, along with the energy generating industry itself, and this has spurred an interest in biomass-derived jet fuels. Although many different plant materials can be used to produce this fuel, researchers at the University of Illinois are working on engineering sugarcane to make it a high yielding, resilient crop ideal for producing far more energy than it takes to make.
Natural gas usage around the world is still on the rise for a number of reasons but a main one being it is better for the environment than other fossil fuels. Countries such as China are increasingly using it to power long distance trucking and countries like Ireland are considering using it to improve their energy security. However, as the main component of natural gas is methane, a major greenhouse gas, the accidental but inevitable emissions of this gas during the production, processing and distribution of natural gas constitute a significant threat to the environment. That is why energy companies BP, Eni, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Shell, Statoil, Total and Wintershall are committing to reducing emission in every part of their operations.