Over 70% of South Australia's demand today is supplied from renewable energy sources and is forecast to reach 100% by 2025, 7 years ahead of schedule. Large industries such as oil and gas have also transformed their vision to ensure utilization of renewable energy sources to provide a cost effective, clean and reliable day to day operations. This paper will therefore present a case study where renewable energy became the enabler for clean oil extraction and economic growth more broadly.
Renewable energy technologies have been at the forefront amongst South Australia's commercial and residential consumers. Large industries such as oil and gas have committed to green, clean methodologies to support their operations when extracting crude oil from wells. The use of solar and battery storage has presented an obvious solution given the proof and reliability of the technology to enable a reduction in carbon emissions and cost while extracting resources from deep wells. A pilot renewable energy off-grid project was successfully completed in South Australia and has proven successful which has now resulted in significant funding being allocated to convert an additional 56 sites.
The successful trial conducted in the State of South Australia allowed for oil pumps to be powered 100% using renewable energy which resulted in a reduction of CO2 emissions and operational costs incurred from the supply and transfer of fuel to the pumps. It is estimated that the adoption of renewable energy for oil extraction will result in an approximate saving of 140 barrels of oil per day which is currently used to fuel pumps and generators at these remote sites. Assuming an average price market of $50 (US) per barrel, this equates to $2.25m (US) per day with consideration to approximately 10% unavailability due to maintenance. The forecast saving of $2.25m (US) is intentionally calculated using market value to reinforce the potential additional revenue to be had from savings on oil consumption during the crude oil extraction process.
In addition to the above forecast savings, a further $70,000 (US) per annum could be saved purely from the use of diesel generators currently being used to supply pumps, this assumes the cost per generator is $190 (US) per day for operations excluding maintenance costs and associated overheads.
With the above in mind and the successful trials under way in Australia, there are a further 208 pumps which are currently in scope across the continent to be converted in an effort to reduce production costs, emissions and ensure a low maintenance operational strategy is in place as well as a low carbon strategy. (Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), 2019).
The financial savings above are forecast to increase with decreased requirements for high cost operational maintenance when compared to conventional sources being used to date in the oil industry.
When considering the financial viability of renewable energy solutions, in addition to the environmental and social benefits, it has been determined that for a single oil pump, the forecast payback period on investments made does not exceed 4 years.
Considering solar systems have a lifespan of 25 years, this means that the remaining operating of solar panels, that is in excess of 20 years will be solely revenue generating years. Taking also into account the 25 years of running for both systems, conventional vs. renewable energy, the forecast levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is $1.3 (US)/kWh vs. 14c (US)/kWh respectively.
This means over a 25-year period, with renewable energy it is forecast that the cost to maintain supply to oil pumps would be 10% of what it could be if conventional sources were used, notwithstanding the lack of electrical redundancy on site, associated maintenance costs and also the forecast reduction of carbon emissions per site.
By applying some of the analyses and key findings, it is necessary to see the oil and gas industries adopt renewable energy strategies to ensure low cost and reliable technologies for oil and gas productions and enable new opportunities for economic growth while ensuring continued commitment to address environmental and social challenges of tomorrow.
Progressive Cavity Pumps (PCPs) are the predominant form of artificial lift method deployed by Australian operators in Coal Seam Gas (CSG) wells. With over five thousand CSG wells [
It is possible to gauge the holistic production performance of PCPs with the aid of real-time data, as this allows for pro-active and informed management of artificially lifted CSG wells. Based on data obtained from two (2) CSG operators, this paper will discuss in detail how features extracted from time series data can be converted to images, which can then aid in autonomously detecting abnormal PCP behavior.
Michael Song, a final year petroleum engineering student at Curtin University, Perth, Australia, and 2016 president of the Curtin University SPE chapter won the Orica Mining, Oil, and Gas Award in the GradConnection's Top 100 Future Leaders competition. GradConnection is a recruitment platform that links students and graduates to employment opportunities. On winning the award, Song said on the GradConnection website, "I am an individual who strives toward excellence in all aspects of my life. Within my studies I have demonstrated excellence through receipt of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Western Australia Scholarship in 2015 and selection to represent the Science & Engineering Department at Curtin University on a short exchange program in Germany earlier this year. This experience allowed me to develop an appreciation for diversity, an insight into the European lifestyle, and professional practices and the ability to overcome language and cultural barriers to communicate effectively. Outside of my studies, I have held numerous executive positions in the SPE chapter at Curtin University over the past 3 years. Through my involvement with the chapter I have proved my leadership capabilities and believe I will continue to do so when I enter the mining, oil, and gas industry in the future."
The SPE student chapters of the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES), University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, and University of Queensland won grants from Total through the Total Team 2018 program. A total of 188 teams, comprising 1331 students from 38 countries of 47 nationalities, submitted proposals for this year's funding and 18 teams were awarded the grants under the four groups of Discover, Innovate, Make It Better, and Push Your Limits. Team Total is Total's annual grants program supporting projects, challenges, and educational activities organized by student teams and associations around the world. It helps students with their studies, extra-curricular fun and humanitarian projects, and enables student associations and student chapters to organize a range of activities, including field trips and participation in international conferences. UFES' student-run event 9 Petroufes was selected under the Discover category.
A recent addition to the petroleum technical/social calendar around Perth, Western Australia, is the Young Petroleum Professionals (YPP) congregation of up-and-coming players in the industry. The YPP program is aimed at petroleum industry professionals in the first 10 years of their careers. The aim is to create opportunities to network among peers and share ideas and experiences. The program is a collaboration between Petroleum Exploration Soc. of Australia (PESA) and SPE. The evening meetings normally consist of a speaker offering either biographical material and tips for young professionals or a talk on the soft skills required in today's industry.
Student organizations are certainly nothing new, and any ex-student will remember the vibrant social life that university clubs provide and perhaps recall jumping in on one of many rallies and protests in the 1960s and 70s staged by guilds and university students. Recently, however, student organizations, particularly in engineering, have moved away from politics and taken on a new role providing professional career development opportunities in response to a rising demand from employers for graduates who can demonstrate teamwork, leadership, and other "soft" skills. The U. of Western Australia (UWA) hosts a number of student engineer organizations. SPE has its own Perth Student Chapter for the growing number of oil and gas students at UWA and Curtin; Engineers Australia's Young Engineers has a UWA branch as well as at Curtin, Murdoch, and Edith Cowan; and, of course, there is the faculty organization, the University Engineers Club (UEC). Pub crawls and the Annual Ball (2005 hosted the 87th) are still sell-out events for the UEC, but running close alongside are the Graduate Networking Dinner in April and the Vac Work Expo held in August.
The Young Petroleum Professionals (YPP) program is a new SPE initiative designed to support and assist the development of those in the petroleum industry with fewer than 10 years' experience. These evenings provide a forum for up-and-coming geologists, geophysicists, engineers, accountants, and lawyers to network and gain insight from more-experienced leaders. After the success of YPP meetings being held in Perth (Western Australia), a South Australian branch has been established and its inaugural meeting in May attracted more than 50 attendees. The meeting was held at the Griffins Head Hotel in the heart of Adelaide and featured a presentation by John Chambers, Exploration Manager for Santos. Chamber's presentation was titled "Lessons from the last 20 years in the oil business and why the next 20 years will be different," and it offered an optimistic view of the future and the role that today's young professionals may be able to play in the coming years.
The backbone of the Young Professional (YP) network in SPE is the individual YP chapters around the world. Because of the relatively recent startup of the network, these chapters are at various stages of development. For convenience, we have listed them below, under a tier structure. The relative tiers represent milestones on the way to a fully active YP chapter. For example, Tier Four represents a fully active chapter, while Tier One includes sections in which a YP board member has been selected or a YP has expressed a wish to start a chapter.
A 1-day workshop for YPs was held in conjunction with the 2006 Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in September 2006 at the Hilton Hotel in Adelaide, Australia. The future direction for YPs in the oil and gas industry was one of the topics discussed, along with potential initiatives to attract, support, and retain YPs during their careers. Senior executives who attended the workshop shared their experiences on career development. Much insight was gained on how to develop and improve professional skills and to prepare for the challenges in the evolving energy industry. The workshop was attended by 42 participants representing four countries and 15 organizations.
As a young female student in year 10 in high school, I had no idea what to pursue as a career after graduating. However, one day in our science class we heard a guest speaker talk about the oil and gas industry. I was immediately fascinated by the story and decided that this was the place to be. Two years later, I found myself at the University of Western Australia (UWA) studying engineering and pursuing a career in the oil and gas industry. I had found my path.