As world demand for gas and oil increases, new technological advances in onshore drilling allow the gas and oil industry to reduce its carbon footprint and deliver even more product to consumers. According to a release on PRNewswire, the global forecast for the industry from 2015 to 2019 looks good for onshore drilling. Advancements in drilling, methods of locating and extracting oil and gas, well simulation models, intelligent completion wells, and storing gas as liquid have helped fine tune the industry. A closer look at the some of the technologies shows a vital industry experiencing a renaissance.
New Imaging Technology
Finding oil and gas deposits is becoming easier and more accurate using advanced 3-D and 4-D seismic imaging, as presented by Natural Gas.org. Now experts can explore the potential oil and gas deposits using these new techniques, allowing for more accurate detection. The advantage the imaging gives scientists who are searching for promising new drilling sites is that the technique allows them to view the image through time. This gives the search team an opportunity to observe site behavior. This tool has allowed the industry to reduce dry drilling, increase efficiency, and achieve better placement of wells. By reducing the number of test holes, the impact on the environment is reduced, along with drilling time and cost.
New Drilling Techniques
The American Petroleum Institute describes several new onshore drilling techniques, which are far more advanced than traditional drilling methods. Several innovative drilling techniques include Horizontal drilling, Multilateral drilling, Extended Reach drilling, and Complex Drilling Paths. These new drilling techniques allow experts to drill for deposits that were once too difficult to reach. The result is an increase in both oil and natural gas production, tapping into precious oil and natural gas deposits that were previously impossible to collect.
How Technological Advances Reduce Carbon Footprints
One major change in the industry is the way we store natural gas. By storing it as liquid, the volume once occupied by the gas has been dramatically decreased. This is accomplished by cooling the gas to -260° F, turning gas into a liquid form known as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNP). In this state, the liquid occupies 1/6th of what it does as gas. This allows for easier transport and storage, greatly reducing the carbon footprint of both. For more information on LNG, visit Natural Gas.org.
Statistics from Natural Gas.org are current as of 2010 and show a reduction of wells needed each year by 22,000 since 1985. Because of technological advances, one well can now produce as much as two wells did in 1985. Because there are fewer wells, waste has been reduced by 148 million barrels. Advanced drilling techniques have reduced the well footprint by nearly 70%. The size and weight of drilling rigs has been reduced by about 75%, greatly reducing the surface impact. Had these technological advances not occurred, seventeen thousand acres of land would not have been saved.
As technologies advance, the search for oil becomes more scientific and less hit-and-miss. Production increases as the footprint continues to shrink. Onshore drilling continues to experience a steady path of technological advancement, working toward being better stewards of the environment while supplying the world with the energy it demands.