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The technology transforming onshore Oil & Gas production in 2017

22/11/2017
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Look at almost any industry and you’ll see the enormous impact that technological developments are wreaking. 

The Onshore Oil & Gas industry is no different.

As producers continue to seek greater efficiencies and squeeze more cash out of every barrel, they are rushing to adopt cutting-edge technologies that will enhance safety and reliability while lowering production costs.

But what exactly are these cutting-edge technologies?

Let’s take a look…
Oil majors are utilising analytics-based logistics systems to optimise the time that operators spend at well sites.
Intelligent Operations

Oil majors such as BP are utilising analytics-based logistics systems (similar to those used by parcel delivery companies and large-scale online retailers) to optimise the time that operators spend at well sites. Such systems include an algorithm that develops dynamic routes for workers so that they are directed to the highest priority wells. Therefore, saving time and optimising their work routines.

Such ‘intelligent operations’ fit within the overall concept of the Intelligent Oil Field; a concept that is being pursued by oil companies that are seeking to ‘digitalise’ their operations. The Intelligent Oil Field concept will see workers and engineers able to visualise the entirety of their onshore operations by being able to instantly access key data about their assets, measurements and documents in consistent and intuitive formats. This will compress decision times, and make those decisions better informed leading to efficiencies and cost savings.
AR smart glasses are enabling workers to read sensor information on their lenses and communicate in real-time with remote colleagues.
Augmented Reality (AR) Smart Glasses

AR smart glasses have been in use within the construction industry for some time now (amongst the most technologically progressive companies) and now they are being steadily adopted by Oil & Gas producers.

AR smart glasses enable workers to read sensor information on their lenses and communicate in real-time with colleagues and technical experts located at remote control centres.
Not only that, but smart glasses utilise augmented reality to overlay instructions and data in the technician’s field of vision as they work at the well site. Kind of like a personal heads-up display.
Several major oil companies are now using drones as 'first responders' when alarms are triggered at well sites.
Drones

We’ve previously written about how drones are being used in the offshore Oil & Gas industry, and now onshore operators are benefitting from the use of drones too.

Several major oil companies are using drones as ‘first responders’ in the event that alarms are triggered at an onshore well site. In such an instance, drones are deployed to scout ahead and determine the cause of the alarm trigger e.g. leaks, trespassing or other problems.

By using drones in such a manner, workers can receive advanced notice of what to expect at the well site and thus be better prepared.
Single-board computers are being used to control wells at a fraction of the cost of traditional computing solutions.
Single-board computing systems

BP’s Lower 48 business has developed what they claim is an ‘industry-disrupting’ alternative to the computers that have traditionally been used to control a well.

The Lower 48 business is replacing these complex systems with small single-board computers that are a fraction of the cost of the traditional equipment. As a BP representative says, “these traditional units have cost thousands of dollars and are difficult to work on, because they require a very specialised skill set.”

Single-board computers (essentially a complete computer built on a single circuit board, with microprocessor(s), memory, input/output (I/O) and other features required of a functioning computer) simplify well-site operations, saving time and money.
Operators are adopting multilateral drilling techniques as means of unlocking pockets of oil and gas in fields that, in many cases, would otherwise be untapped.
Multilateral Drilling

Although operators have been drilling rudimental multilateral wells since the 1950s, it is only in recent years that technology has enabled them to truly take advantage of this specialised technique.

Multilateral wells feature multiple horizontal wells connected to a single vertical drilling hole, or ‘wellbore’, allowing producers to access more of the oil and gas in a given reservoir, while reducing the number of drilling sites.

Harris Cander, vice president of exploration and subsurface technology for BP’s Lower 48 business, defines multilateral drilling as follows:

“For the vast majority of the industry, for every one horizontal well that is drilled, there’s one vertical- so it looks like the letter ‘L’. The idea with a multilateral is that from one vertical well, you’ll drill more than one horizontal leg to it- so it looks more like an upside-down letter ‘F’”.


As a result of the adoption of this technique, production can be increased by multiple factors unlocking pockets of oil and gas in fields that, in many cases, would otherwise be untapped.
Since 1970, Fircroft has been supplying expert engineering and technical professionals to major Oil & Gas companies across the globe.
The Oil & Gas industry never stands still

As the technological developments above illustrate, the Oil & Gas industry never stands still, and neither does its workforce.

Since 1970, Fircroft has been supplying expert engineering and technical professionals to major Oil & Gas companies across the globe. If you are looking to secure the best talent for your Oil & Gas business, speak to a member of the Fircroft team today.
Tags: Oil & Gas
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