Top Blog discusses Best Technological Innovation Being Used By Top 20 Oil & Gas, Utility Companies

Where might is mixed with wit, there is too good an accord in a government- Queen Elizabeth I

05 FEBRUARY 2014, PARK AVENUE, NEW YORK
Summary
The oil and gas industry has experienced a tremendous advancement and change when compared to the state of the industry years ago. In more than a century ago, the industry suffered from dominance by large western market and competitiveness among a few private companies for the world’s oil reserves. Oil price saw the highest and indeed permanent increase in 2005. In respond to the trend in the oil and gas industry, other companies are now producing efficient vehicles, engines and aircraft and also going for alternative source of fuels as a measure to capture the demands for transportation. There are new technologies available today which provide different opportunities for unconventional oil and gas in most parts of the world, however, the production of this unconventional energy is uncertain. In traditional oil-exporting countries under state monopoly, private-sector companies still have opportunities but this does not come without intense competition with state-controlled oil and gas firms. In the Middle East oil exports which are mostly targeted at Asian markets instead of the US or Europe, there is a question of who will take the bull by the horn in terms of physical security in the region.

Forewords

The oil and gas industry has experienced a tremendous advancement and change when compared to the state of the industry years ago. In more than a century ago, the industry suffered from dominance by large western market and competitiveness among a few private companies for the world’s oil reserves. Oil price saw the highest and indeed permanent increase in 2005. In respond to the trend in the oil and gas industry, other companies are now producing efficient vehicles, engines and aircraft and also going for alternative source of fuels as a measure to capture the demands for transportation. There are new technologies available today which provide different opportunities for unconventional oil and gas in most parts of the world, however, the production of this unconventional energy is uncertain. In traditional oil-exporting countries under state monopoly, private-sector companies still have opportunities but this does not come without intense competition with state-controlled oil and gas firms. In the Middle East oil exports which are mostly targeted at Asian markets instead of the US or Europe, there is a question of who will take the bull by the horn in terms of physical security in the region.

The global economy and the human environment are affected by the responses given by the oil and gas industry on the above mentioned challenges. The carbon dioxide emission from oil and gas is a big issue to address. 57% of the commercial energy consumed globally is obtained from oil and gas, however, the energy also accounts for the overall carbon dioxide emission globally. 15 percent of the global exports come from oil and gas and also the energy accounts for over 25 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of OPEC member countries, Russia and many countries in Central Asia. In addition, more than 10 percent of the value of global stock market goes into the oil and gas sector. Obviously, any issue or factor affecting the oil and gas industry will have strong effect on the individuals who rely solely on its products and those who try to avoid some environmental and social effects of using those products. Also, government and shareholders who depend on the activities of the oil and gas industries for dividends and tax revenues will also be affected by any trend or issue in the oil and gas industry.

The industry depends on the governments in developing its strategies and cannot do so without them. According to reports government’s intervention driven by climatic change policies, economic and physical security is constantly increasing and changing in the oil and gas industry. Governmental policies in the oil industry have political influences and therefore they seldom produce recognized and significant results.

The global shock of 1970 led countries and energy companies to consider what the future will be with diminishing supply of fossil fuel. One of the answers to the shock was to come up with an alternative source of fossil fuel reserves and also create new avenues to get across to them. It has been forty years since this plan and the result is starting to yield positive result. Technologies for tapping unconventional reserves of oil and gas (natural gas and tight oil (LTO)) tapped in rock formations or shale which include basically hydraulic fracturing and hydraulic drilling are now widely adopted in the industry. Newly discovered reserves and previously known deposits which could not be economically extracted through conventional methods can easily be extracted through these effective extraction techniques.

Top 15 Oil & Gas & 5 Utility from Fortune 500 List

Years ago, the oil industry was dominated by the so-called “Seven Sisters” – seven dominant oil firms in the world. However, as time and trend changes, competition increased in the industry and other key players in industry come on board. Today, the industry is greatly influenced by the supermajors but national owned oil firms are also playing a major role in the oil firm.

The Netherlands/UK owned Royal Dutch Shell, founded in 1907 is the number one in the list. Its revenue is US$484.489 billion. Shell is headquartered in Netherlands and London, UK. It has subsidiary firms in Australia, Canada, Nigeria, Pakistan, and up to 90 countries. The US owned Exxon Mobil takes the second place. It is headquartered in Irving, Texas and has revenue of US$452.926 billion. It has branches in different parts of the world. The UK owned BP with the revenue of $386.463 billion is the third. This is followed by the Chinese owned Sinopec, revenue US$375.214 billion; Chinese owned China National Petroleum Corporation with revenue US$352.338 billion; US owned Chevron with revenue of US$245.621 billion; US owned Conoco Philips with revenue US$237.272 billion; France owned Total S.A with revenue of US$231.580; Russia owned Gazprom with a revenue of US$157.830; Italy owned Eni with a revenue of US$153.676; Brazil owned Petrobras with a revenue of US$145.915; France owned GDF Suez with a revenue of US$126.076; Mexico owned Pemex with a revenue of US$125.344; US owned Valero Energy with a revenue of US$125.095 and the Venezuela owned PDVSA with a revenue of US$124.754.

The major players in the utility industry from the 2013 Fortune 500 list include Exelon with revenue of US$23.5 billion and profit of US$1.16 billion; Duke Energy with revenue of US$19.6 billion and profit of US$1.77 billion; AES with revenue of US$18.2 billion and profit of US$912 million; Southern Company with revenue of US$16.5 billion and profit of US$2.35 billion and First Energy with a revenue of US$15.3 billion and profit of US$770 million.

Top Technologies/ Business Processes and their benefits in the Oil & Gas value Chains

One of the difficulties in the oil and gas industries involves diversification into various opportunities that are not related to its technologies, customer interface and sources. Large oil companies are being increasingly interested in biofuels because it results into liquid fuel. However, there are several uncertainties when it comes to these technologies. The technology that would be more competitive than others, the development of the raw material supplying industries and the change in government policies supporting biofuels are not certain at the present time.

The world is not yet running out of oil and gas. Estimates show that at the current usage of oil and gas, the present fossil fuel reserves will last for at least 40 years. The estimates do not account for new technologies discovered in the recent times; however, these new technologies are helping to reach previously unreachable sources of oil and gas.

A few years ago, drilling went only in the downward direction. However, today we drill at different angles and even in the horizontal direction. In the Wamsutter gas field located in Wyoming, USA, large amount of natural gas trapped within rock formations too tight to allow the gas flow naturally has been reached via horizontal drilling. Below are some of the current technologies that can be very helpful in reaching more oil and gas from currently known reservoirs.

  • 1.Rock Fracturing

Fine cracks that result to freer flow of natural gas deposits which could have previously remained untapped could be caused by exerting the right level and type of pressure into rocks with tight pores.

  • 2.LoSal Process

One of the long established methods of oil exploration involves injecting water into a reservoir to ferret out some of the remaining oil which left surrounded in rock pores. BP developed and owns a method involving the use of water at low salt content to flush out the trapped oil and this method helps in increasing recovery of oil by up to 40 percent.

  • 3.Injecting Carbon Dioxide into wells

Another effective way of ferreting out more oil out of a well is through the injection of natural gas into it. Carbon dioxide obtained oil and other hydrocarbon during hydrogen power production have been showed by some tests to be an effective alternative to natural gas when it comes to this. More so, this is also a way of saving the environment by reusing and channeling the carbon dioxide back to the reservoir rather than releasing it into the atmosphere where it will add to the greenhouse gases and cause further havoc and global warming.

  • 4.Sending in Micro-organisms

Some energy institutes such as DuPont and the Energy Bioscience Institute are looking at the possible ways in which microorganisms can be used to flush out oil. This might sound like science fictions but it is real. When certain microorganisms are fed into reservoirs, they might contribute in lubricating the rock surfaces. Certain other microorganisms can attack the oil noisily and break them down, causing them to become runnier.

  • 5.Employing Chemistry to Transform Crude oil

Refining involves lots of chemistries. We need to understand the basis of chemistry to fully understand the working process of oil and gas refining.

Hydrocarbon chains containing carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms make up crude oil. The chemical bonds binding these atoms together can be linked and broken up in varieties of ways. As a matter of fact, hydrocarbon is the most versatile compound in the chemical charts. There are up to 2.5 million possible combinations available for hydrocarbon compounds. Longer and heavier hydrocarbon molecules can be broken down and transformed into lighter ones and in the same way lighter ones can be built up into longer and heavier ones.

  • 6.Vaporizing the crude oil

Oil is first heated to a temperature of about 350oC in order to separate it into useful products. This is then followed by the pumping of the oil into a fractioning tower.

Oil vaporization takes place in an oil refinery, a tall and slender tower. The vaporized oil rises to the top of the tower through trays which have holes. On cooling, the gas condenses into several separate liquids. Naptha, used for chemical processing, and kerosene are collected at the top of the tower whereas heavier ones are collected at the bottom of the tower.

  • 7.Delivering better biofuels

Greenhouse gas levels and their immediate impacts on humans and the environment at large can be reduced greatly by using fuels produced from renewable biomass, biofuels.

  • 8.Wind power

If wind is used for the production of one-tenth of the energy consumed globally, the production of up to one billion tone of carbon dioxide can be reduced each year.

  • 9.3-D and 4-D Seismic Imaging

The nature of natural gas exploration was greatly changed by the development of seismic imaging in three dimensions. The method involves traditional seismic imaging techniques together with powerful computers and processors. The method is channeled towards the creation of a 3-D model of the subsurface layers. This method is further expanded upon by 4-D seismology as time dimension is added to the mix. This gives room for exploration teams to monitor the trend in subsurface features with respect to time. This technology allows exploration teams to easily identify natural gas prospects, place wells more efficiently, decrease the number of drilled dry holes, minimize drilling costs and also reduce the time involved in exploration. This technology has positive impact economically and environmentally.

  • 10.Carbon dioxide-Sand Fracturing (Co2-Sand)

This was year 1970 when fracturing methods have been employed towards ensuring the upsurge in the flow rate of natural gas and oil from underground formations. 10. Carbon dioxide-Sand (Co2-Sand) has to do with channeling sand proppants and liquid carbon dioxide towards rock formations to fracture, create and enlarge rock cracks to give way for the free flow of oil and natural gas. After the vaporization of the carbon dioxide, sand is left in the formation and the newly enlarged cracks are left open. Since only sand and carbon dioxide are used in the process, there is no other leftover aside sand in the process which ought to be removed. This simply implies that this method of fracturing opens the formation effectively and gives room for increased recovery of oil and natural gas.

  • 11.Coiled Tubing

The outmoded drill pipes with long and flexible pipe have been replaced by coiled tubing technologies. Consequently, the cost of drilling is greatly reduced. It also results to the provision of minor footprints of drilling,faster rig set up, the need for less drilling mud, and the reduction in time required for making drill pipe connections. When combined with slimhold drilling, very economic drilling conditions which will have reduced impact on the environment can be produced.

  • 12.Measurement while drilling (MWD)

Data from the bottom of a well can be collected during the drilling process using the method of measurement-while-drilling (MWD). This gives room for engineers and drilling team to obtain updated information on the nature of the rock formations encountered by the drill bit. Drilling efficiency and accuracy in the drilling process are greatly improved through this method. It also gives room to the improved formation evaluation as the drill bit encounters the underground formation. In addition, the chance of formation damage and blowouts is greatly reduced.

  • 13.Slimhole Drilling

This method truly answers its name. It involves drilling a slimmer hole in the ground to reach the deposits of oil and natural gas. Conventional wells use drill bits with a diameter of 12.25 inches but for slimhole drilling to take place, up to 90 percent of a well should be drilled with a drill bit whose diameter is less than 6 inches. With this method of drilling, efficiency of the operations can be greatly increased and at the same time environmental impacts can be greatly reduced. Since it involves shorter drilling times and reduced drilling crews, the drilling costs can be reduced by 50 percent; however, the drilling footprint can be reduced by up to 75 percent. This drilling technology provides economic way of drilling exploratory wells in new areas as well as drilling deeper wells in existing areas. It is also a way to go for extracting more oil and gas efficiently from un-depleted fields.

  • 14.Offshore Drilling Technology

As a result of the effective results that has been achieved by cutting edge technologies, offshore oil and gas production field is usually compared to the aeronautics field and NASA due to progress in deep water drilling. Efficient and safe offshore drilling in waters more than 10,000 feet deep are now easily achieved using new technologies which involve offshore drilling rigs, dynamic positioning devices and sophisticated navigation systems.

  • 15.Hydraulic Fracturing

This method is used to tap natural gas trapped in shale rock formations. A mix containing 99 percent water and sand is injected into the rock at a very high pressure in order to create fractures in the rock and a provision for natural gas to flow. The fluid mix makes the formation to become more porous. This method has been used by up to 90 percent of natural gas wells in the US to boost oil production.

NANOTECHNOLOGY IN OIL INDUSTRY

Nanotechnology is as much important in oil industry as it is in every other field and industries. The oil industry recently began investing heavily into nanotechnology as it provides prospects of advancement and major development in the industry. Nanotechnology has promises of providing top notch features such as coating against corrosion as well as heavy-duty filtration systems. This article will provide a better understanding of how nanotechnology is beneficial in the oil and gas industry.

Royal Dutch Shell

Shell employs nanotechnology to catalyze chemical reactions and also in preventing the corrosion of pipes. Intensive researches are also being done by the multinational oil industry to leverage the technology in extracting more oil and gas from reservoirs.

The technology is also employed in efficient and safe discovery of hydrocarbons using nano-enhanced particles. Sergio Kapusta, Shell chief scientist materials and corrosion pointed out that they have a million channel sensors designed to monitor how well their infrastructures are doing. With nanotechnology, the sensors can be made faster smaller and cheaper. It helps in deploying millions of sensors at the same time. He also added that this help them to know how pipelines are working to increase integrity and safety of operations.

Exxon Mobil

The Form Global Battery Separator Film Joint venture formed by Exxon Mobil and Toray leverages Toray’s plastic film processing and polymer science features coupled with Tonen’s lithium ion battery separator film technology alongside built on Exxon Mobil’s copious experiences and breakthroughs in separator films. This will be employed in the development of future LLB applications in the industry as well as other industries.

BP

Extracting oil efficiently from the earth involves using water to force it out from microscopic rock pores. BP employs micro and nanofluids on extremely large scale basis for the operation.

SINOPEC

A news report from Beijing, China, pointed out that through a direct melt mixing process, and PLLA/poly D-lactic acid (PDLA) and poly L-Lactic acid (PLLA) composites were prepared and this was filled into multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). A special crystalline structure akin to one obtained when two polymers of similar chemical properties but different steric structures was formed by PLLA and PDLA.

Beijing Woven Energy Technologies is studying the sustainability of Nansulate® High Heat on offshore drilling platforms for insulation and corrosion control. There have been positive preliminary feedbacks as regards the product’s ability to perform wonderfully in the harsh offshore environment, guide the offshore oil storage tank from corrosion and provide thermal insulation. The company looks forward to leveraging the opportunity offered by this technology once the project is completed.

Chevron

Chevron’s operation in China has been tremendously expanded through the subsidiaries. It operates in different range of businesses as well as in the development of nanotechnology. It invests heavily into the field to leverage the technology in its operations.

ConocoPhilips

According to Houston & Laurence, ConocoPhilips and the University of Kansas have gone into a collaborative research targeted at developing and testing nanotechnology for oilfield stimulation to improve recovery and meet the increasing demands. ConocoPhilips puts in $400,000 each year for the program. The oil company provides further evaluation and field testing to determine the practical application of the product.

Total S. A.

Lots of modern technologies require different groups to work together on an international basis for successful application to be ensured. Many fields are built on wide alliance of companies and pilot experiment is the most efficient approach to leverage. This limits the technique to a single field as each new field has its own special features.

Gazprom

A meeting held on November at the Gazprom’s headquarters 28, 2013 by Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee and Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of Rusnano Executive Board was targeted at developing products and introducing them at Gazprom’s production facilities.

In the meeting, the progress of the collaboration between Gazprom and Russian nanotech companies was discussed. The effect of using metalized protective coatings with high corrosion resistance which was produced by Plakart was considered during the meeting. Anticorrosion ability and the fireproof and wear resistant coating features of Plakart were discussed. The study aims at using the product for protecting the process equipment of the gas transmission and production facilities at Gasprom. In the meeting, the cutting edge energy saving technologies developed by the Rusnano group was also considered. An example of this involves the application of Optogan light emitting diode lamps at Gasprom Transgaz Yugorsk which made it possible for power consumption by light equipment to be reduced to 34 percent. Eni

Eni is specially focused on nanotechnology for the evolution of crude oil and gas quality. This makes it possible to evaluate about 99 percent of world production of crude on the basis of density (API level) and sulfur content.

Petrobras

Brazilian Oil and Gas giant, Petrobras, has requested specifications from Industrial Nanotech, a company which specializes in nanotechnology innovation and product development, for an application of the company’s thermally insulating and corrosion resistant coating, Nansulate. The specification is for a pipeline project which consists of one hundred and five miles of eighteen inch diameter pipe which will be constructed in Brazil.

Valero Energy

BEG is set to coordinate researches by seven major oil companies in the course of three years to ascertain if nanomaterials created in the laboratory on a very small scale basis would improve EOR. An application under view involves injecting into oil and gas reservoirs nanomaterials in order for them to link together and serve as sensors. This will enable petroleum engineers to monitor oil and gas reservoirs.

Nanotechnology involves measurement at sub-microscopic scale. The measurement is done on a unit referred to as nanometer which is equivalent to one-billionth meter. Sarah Briceño, a researcher at the Center for Physics at the Venezuelan institute of Scientific Research (IVIC) said they are seeking to use nanoparticles of metallic salts like iron, nickel and cobalt nitrates as catalysts in processes involved in the oil industries which produces greenhouse emissions.

She told Tierramérica that their goal is to develop catalysts which will fit into the Venezuelan industry and help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50 percent from activities like oil refining and fuel consumptions by motor vehicles

CUSTOMER TESTIMONIAL OF OIL COMPANIES

BP

Mike Dowling, the senior procurement specialist of National Grid testified that as national fleet is important for accessing strategically located sites, BP has more motorway sites than anyone else and also its deals with Texaco and Total S.A simply implies that one can now access 1 in 3 of all UK forecourt, which is indeed wonderful.

Bonita Scaysbrook, a financial accountant at Ginsters stated that fraudulent transactions have been reduced since BP PLUS fuel cards are PIN enabled. In addition, I can change the PIN number on any card at any point in time simply with the use of PB Account Manager and thus security is further ensured, Scaysbrook said. This also prevents reordering of a card in case a driver forgets his PIN number.

Bobby Allan, a fleet manager at GAP Group said that drawing from their long experiences with BP, if you want to stick to one company for your fleet, then BP is surely the right place to be. He also said that they are with BP because of the location and quality of their fuel stations.

Shell

Manassananti, managing director of Orient Thai Airlines says,“AeroShell Turbine Engine Oil 560 is the answer to your engine lubrication needs. We have boosted lubricating performance for our Boeing 747 Fleet with AeroShell Turbine Oil 560.”

Five Technology Targets in the Oil and Gas industry

Technology is targeted at five major goals in the oil and gas industries and these goals are designed to meet long term responsibilities of the industries energy providers.

-Firstly, finding new oil fields is critical in the industry. This is targeted at increasing the world’s conventional oil resource base. As our understanding of petroleum geology and reservoir behavior increases and our technology advances, the world’s oil reserves have been increased. The current estimate is between six and eight trillion barrels. Also increase in computing power today is also a contributing factor to this trend. The computing power of Saudi Aramco’s Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center has reached 34 teraflop floating point operation per seconds which exceed that of up to 30,000 desktop computers.

-The number two technology target is to increase recovery of oil. This will ensure that minimum amount of oil is left in the ground. The recovery rate of various oil fields differs but they increase with the application of new technologies as well as enhanced reservoir management methods. There is already a noticeable increase in technologies like production operations, drilling and completion as well as reservoir engineering. These technologies hold promising futures and there are significant opportunities in the field of digital oil fields, nanotechnology and lightweight materials.

-Thirdly, the reduction in exploration and production costs is important in the oil and gas industry. The industry is also targeted at making attractive and viable prospects which were previously uneconomical. As the industry search for further reserves and as production becomes more challenging, this objective is very vital. Fields located thousands of feet below the sea surface can now be developed. Wells can now be drilled at depths of as low as 5000 feet water. Chevron was able to drill a well in 10,000 feet of water at the Gulf of Mexico in 2003. Many other high end technologies are now available such as offshore production, storage, and offloading activities.

-Technology also targets non-conventional heavy oil resources. Technology is greatly required to run the world known non-conventional resources into supplies in production. Owing to the nature of these resources and the type of production challenges they pose, they can be divided into two groups which include (1) extra heavy oil, tar sand and bitumen and (2) oil shales.

-Lastly, the effects of the aforementioned technological targets and how they affect the environment is indeed a great concern to be reckoned with. Technology has to be leveraged in order to protect the environment and also preserve the natural ecosystem.

With high end technologies, the recovery rates of oil have been increased and also the barrels of oil fields yet to be discovered have reached about one trillion. When this sum is added to the present proven reserves of 1.2 trillion barrels and the 1.5 trillion barrels that can be extracted from non-conventional sources through state of the art technology, this will amount to 4.5 trillion barrels of potentially recoverable oil. This sum amounts to 140 years of oil supply at the current supply rate. This simply means that the world has only consumed 18 percent of its conventional and non-conventional producible potential of oil and gas. Shale gas is not even accounted in this. Thus, this clearly proves the fact that the world’s oil reserve is running out wrong.

Conclusion

Technology has truly changed the face of the oil and gas industry. Advances in technology have helped the world to increase its oil resource base to levels which could have been thought unimaginable in a couple of years ago. Barely half a century ago, the recent transformation of the North Sea into a major oil producing area could not have been foreseen by anyone. However, today Norway is one of the largest exporters of oil in the world. With high end technologies and different drilling methods, oil reserves taught unconventional in the past have become conventional and the global oil reserves have been greatly boosted. The future now holds much more prospects and positivity as technology further advances.

Figure 1 Percentile proportion of top 15 Oil & Gas Companies

Figure 2 Top 15 Oil & Gas Companies in context revenue

Figure 3: Top 5 Utility Companies by Percentile

Figure 4: Top 5 Utility Companies by Revenue

About the Author

Antonio Bhardwaj is a one of the top 50 successful leaders per recent research by Gartner. Antonio Bhardwaj is known to most CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies globally.

Antonio Bhardwaj is a business and civic leader, an investor with over 28 years of expertise in building businesses. Antonio Bhardwaj is a republican and has supported most congressional leaders before their terms in office. Antonio Bhardwaj would be running for Congress in the next term.

Antonio Bhardwaj is also a published author in area of strategy, economy, trade and technology. Antonio Bhardwaj is an expert global economist, strategist, technologist and futurist. Antonio Bhardwaj is one of the top experts globally on nanotechnology.

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Quotes
"Think Oil " Antonio Bhardwaj
"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" Steve Jobs
"We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. " A. Einstein
"Where might is mixed with wit, there is too good an accord in a government. " Queen Elizabeth I