Offshore oil drilling and affiliated technological advances have long been considered to be the driving force of the oil industry, the backbone of our economy. In a fast technologically evolving age, the oil industry has not been left out. That is continuing to affect demand and supply of energy as seen in the past. The industry has been seen to involve complex processing of big data gathered at the various stages of oil production: exploration, discovering and it is processing. Petroleum science is steadily evolving from traditional under-developed geology to highly advanced super computer 3D calculations and analysis of the substance. Technological advances in affect all sectors of the industry and due to its competitive nature, it facilitates the transfer of technology worldwide. In the last two decades, petroleum refining is becoming exponentially complex due to the reducing quality of crude oil and set environmental regulations. The industry is troubled, and only technology can come in handy to maintain the high profitability and health of the industry.
Offshore technological advancements.
Since the last decade, oil prices have been on the rise. While there are several reactions, a venture to carry out offshore oil drilling has been the most thrilling. For many years, it had been considered economically infeasible venture, but with the current technological advancements, more companies are drilling oil in deep water. Deep water drilling is simply regarded as a process of oil and gas exploration in water depths of more than 500 feet. Offshore operations are commonly exhibited with complexities hence the costs associated. The offshore facilities are self-contained, and it is from these structures that wells are drilled. Today, offshore drilling is being extended further and deeper into the sea as the companies are getting justifications to do so.
Drilling depths have progressed exponentially from mere 71 feet too many miles below the surface both vertically and horizontally. Technology has a major resource in to go through the tight grip of rocks which was not a possibility time ago.
The science of petroleum drilling has evolved from a game of guessing to an elaborate supercomputer based calculations to identify the substance in offshore sites. That is a major overhaul in the industry, as the educated guesses are cutting on costs and making offshore oil drilling economically feasible.
In order to meet the growing demand for oil and natural gas, technological innovation is aiding the industry particularly the exploration and production sector. That is in terms of making the exploration and production safe, efficient, and more environmental friendly. It is taking pace and the general nature of operations is improving considerably throughout the industry.
An increased use of liquefied gas and natural gas fuel is a breakthrough in a revolution taking place in the natural gas industry. Through the increased use of liquefied natural gas-LNG, transportation and exploitation have greatly become efficient. Reserves that were considered to be unrecoverable, through the use of the retro refrigeration, exploitation of the reserves is now on the rise. Fuel cells is another exciting and promising technology of powering the nation. This ingenious way of electricity production is popular it being environmentally friendly.
Exploration technological advances in offshore drilling.
The success in offshore oil drilling and exploration in the last decades can be credited to the advancement of technology, to a large extent. Very innovative technologies such as advanced production systems, improved drilling techniques, 3D surveys, and improved completion techniques have aided exploitation of oil resources in even remote environments. Specially to note, it is the seamless use of seismic technology. The search for hydrocarbons heavily depends on this technology that is based on reading data from possible sources of carbon. That is achieved through the generation of seismic waves that are read and interpreted by complex, specialized devices.
Advancements in seismic technology have not only improved oil and natural gas exploration results, but also has lowered the cost per unit produced and general productivity. Further integration of seismic technology with the information processing capabilities of this century, has improved placement that increases recovery. That has ensured increased project profitability and huge time savings.
The creation of oil rigs that can be operated at great water depths, clearly shows how drilling techniques are evolving in improving productivity and lowering costs. The evolution of horizontal and directional drilling is a typical example of a technology advancement being used in the offshore. It’s used to penetrate multiple layers of subsurface making it admirably effective a mechanism. That has considerably reduced the number of wells required to achieve the objectives of oil drilling.
The average rate of overall production from deep water wells has doubled as completion technology and an increase in efficiency of production facilities has advanced. Through the use of larger tubing and high level gravel packs, high completion rates are now achievable.
The development of deep water deposits has benefitted from technological development aimed at almost all aspects of performance. Profitability is enhanced by any mechanism that results in reliability, cost reduction, time saving, or accelerates project completion. These other technologies may include seamlessly floating pipelines, remotely operated vehicles serving the rigs, and other composite materials used in construction.
Hydraulic fracturing: The process.
Contrary to many reports, hydraulic fracturing is put into a process engaged in drilling. It is a process that is used once the rig is completed. Simply put, fracturing is the use of fluid and other materials or creation of minor fractures in a reserve with the aim of stimulating production of crude oil from new wells. This increases the rate at which gas and oil can be produced from reservoir formations effectively.
The use of hydraulic fracturing is done skeptically. To protect water sources. In an effort of ensuring that neither the fluid nor the natural gas that will eventually be harvested, by any chance go into the water supply, intermediate still casings are inserted into the oil rig. Spacing between the casing and the drilled well bore is then filled with cement.
Hearsay has it that up to 80 percent of oil wells will require fracturing in order to remain operational. This is as it allows extended production in older oil and gas fields. It similarly allows the production and recovery of formations that geologists strongly believed were not possible to produce, for example tight shale formations. Hydraulic fracturing is also known to extend the life of older wells in fully matured oil and natural gas fields.
The process is achieved through a series of activities: an acid stage- several thousands of gallons of water mixed with dilute acid is poured into the fracture to help remove cement debris by readily dissolving carbonates; a pad stage- involving pouring of slick water into the wellbore to help open the formation and allow the flow and placement of propane material; and a flush stage consisting adequate water enough to wash any excess propane materials in the well bore.
Distribution of refined products.
The refined oil products usually follows three channels it can be sold to: wholesalers, retail or in bulk from the refinery. It’s from these channels the final consumer will get to quench their need for fuel to meet the various energy requirements. The wholesale distributor will typically supply to consumers in smaller loads either directly from the refinery or via a network of trucks and pipelines from a central terminal. Typical customers are petrochemical plants and local power plants aiming to increase their power production. That forms the downstream of oil distribution. It is majorly exhibited by a network of well-established multinationals whose main motivation is usually the profitability associated with the general industry.
The upstream oil supply chain is enhanced and supported by various key drivers. The survival of this part of the distribution solely depends on operations and management logistics like delivery of oil from remotely located wells to processing plants, and the initial acquisition, exploration, proper forecasting and production. The downstream and upstream work hand in hand to see a successful oil distribution in the economy.
Supply of the refined products is driven by complex yet interesting objectives, no wonder the industry remains a kill in the economy. Notably, maximization of production capacity, minimization of material procurement, and proactive response to market opportunities are dominant objectives.
Regardless of the progress made, most economies are deeply addicted to carbon and dropping the habit is not an easy task. The prospective of offshore resources-oil and natural gas is double what the local hydro generators produce in a year. Despite these critics and environmentalists want to overlook the benefits and emphasize on the risks. But it is undeniable that offshore oil does satisfy our energy needs-appetite. That calls for a critical look at things and why offshore oil and natural gas production should be strategized and prioritized. It could be highly commendable if oil companies and the government itself to come up with policies that will equip the industry with the relevant technical skills, and ways on how to mitigate risks imminent from offshore drilling.
The risks associated with offshore drilling makes its side of the coin ugly, but a critical look at the benefits, and possible measures the country can put in place towards a desirable end, promises nations a smarter energy future. Despite that, there have been several occurrences where the cost to people of coastal communities, their economies and environment is hazardous, this leaves us in a dilemma: whether to fully exploit offshore drilling or not. Technological advancement may be the answer we are eager for, but who knows better?
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