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HSE--or health, safety, and environment--is commonly used as shorthand for HSSES (health, safety, environment, security, and social economics) and is also known as SHE or EHS. An alternative term for it is occupational safety and health (OSH). Some organizations include security and social economics under the HSE umbrella. Titling it HSSES becomes cumbersome, so the abbreviation HSE is typically used include safety and security. Safety, health, environmental, security, and social economics are separate disciplines, each with its own technology; however, these disciplines are often combined in the same functional groups within exploration and production (E&P) organizations.
Algorithms are taking over the world, or so we are led to believe, given their growing pervasiveness in multiple fields of human endeavor such as consumer marketing, finance, design and manufacturing, health care, politics, sports, etc. The focus of this article is to examine where things stand in regard to the application of these techniques for managing subsurface energy resources in domains such as conventional and unconventional oil and gas, geologic carbon sequestration, and geothermal energy. It is useful to start with some definitions to establish a common vocabulary. Thus, DA can be thought of as a broad framework that helps determine what happened (descriptive analytics), why it happened (diagnostic analytics), what will happen (predictive analytics), or how can we make something happen (prescriptive analytics) (Sankaran et al. 2019). Although DA is built upon a foundation of classical statistics and optimization, it has increasingly come to rely upon ML, especially for predictive and prescriptive analytics (Donoho 2017).
I was recently asked if I thought that the oil and gas industry would bounce back once the world is rid of the coronavirus. It was a question prompted by the sharp decline in activity in several oil-and-gas-dependent sectors such as transportation. The coronavirus and its subsequent impact on the price of oil have injected a sense of uncertainty into the industry, prompting many to speculate as to what will happen once the pandemic abates. Rather than asking if we'll bounce back, I'd prefer we focus on how fast we can learn from the challenges and move forward. The oil and gas industry has come to a point at which there is no turning back. The pressure to transform was mounting long before COVID-19 entered our vocabulary.
After 10 years, it's now accepted by most oil and gas companies that methane emissions are bad news. The emissions are mainly leakage of natural gas from wells, from pipelines, and from oil and gas facilities such as gas processing plants. Most individual leaks are very small, but a few big ones can really distort the picture. And tens of thousands of small ones in wells and pipeline miles add up. Pneumatics, which are devices that contain gas under pressure, are a big contributor to leakage. Methane emissions are bad news because they are wasted natural gas that could be sold for $3 or $4 per thousand cubic feet.
At a recent board meeting, the chief information officer (CIO) of a major global corporation led a wide-ranging discussion about the tools and practices needed to fortify the company's data and systems against breaches. The board encouraged heightened investment and vigilance then moved on to its next agenda item, a financial committee presentation leading to a board vote on acquiring shares to consolidate ownership in an enterprise in which the company held a minority stake. To the surprise of the CIO, who was still in the room, there was no discussion of cybersecurity, even though the acquiree was operating in a region where cyberbreaches and criminal hacking were endemic. Happily, the CIO's fortuitous presence enabled a proper discussion of the effect of the decision on the company's cyber risk profile and a change in the acquisition approach aimed at bringing the acquiree more fully into the corporation's information-technology (IT) and operational infrastructure. The board had not connected the dots between the two agenda items because its view of cybersecurity, as well as that of the chief executive officer (CEO), was more focused on risk dashboards and surveillance than on the security implications of business decisions.
Researchers have developed a new sensor that could allow practical and low-cost detection of low concentrations of methane gas. Measuring methane emissions and leaks is important to a variety of industries because the gas contributes to global warming and air pollution. "Agricultural and waste industries emit significant amounts of methane," said Mark Zondlo, leader of the Princeton University research team that developed the sensor. "Detecting methane leaks is also critical to the oil and gas industry for both environmental and economic reasons because natural gas is mainly composed of methane." In The Optical Society journal Optics Express, researchers from Princeton University and the US Naval Research Laboratory demonstrate their new gas sensor, which uses an interband cascade light emitting device (ICLED) to detect methane concentrations as low as 0.1 parts per million.
Macquarie Group investment arm Macquarie Capital has entered the liquefied natural gas (LNG) solutions market with the formation of WaveCrest LNG LLC, a platform that will develop, construct, own, and operate LNG regasification, power, and downstream infrastructure assets. The platform will deliver project financing, construction and commercial operation as well as subsequent project expansions. The company will initially focus on serving Latin American and Asian markets and seek to establish and grow market demand for natural gas by providing greater access to the relatively low-cost fuel source that also has lower carbon emissions than coal and fuel oils. It will support reduced direct emissions by enabling fuel switching to natural gas, which will serve as a natural complement to the growing penetration of renewable energy. WaveCrest is led by Chief Executive Rob Bryngelson, former cofounder and CEO of Excelerate Energy, an early entrant in the use of floating storage and regasification units. "Global energy demand growth, coupled with an increasing focus on climate change, positions natural gas as a key energy source in the transition to a low-carbon energy future," Bryngelson said.
Natural gas transmission firms in Australia have begun running tests to blend hydrogen with their hydrocarbon product in a bid to future-proof their A$75 billion in assets. Cashing in on rare bipartisan support for hydrogen across Australia's national and state governments to help cut carbon emissions, pipeline and network owners have already committed A$180 million to a range of projects involving green hydrogen, according to Reuters. A study done for the government found hydrogen can be safely added to gas supplies at up to 10% by volume without having to modify pipelines or appliances. The advantage of blending hydrogen into gas allows for a gradual buildup of the hydrogen industry, requiring electrolyzers of up to 1 gigawatt, compared with the bigger, more costly electrolyzers that will be needed for green hydrogen exports. In the first test of hydrogen into a distribution network in Australia, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) is set to start injecting a 5% blend of green hydrogen by volume in gas next month, going into 700 homes in Adelaide.
The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) unanimously approved a rule requiring oil and gas operators to install zero-bleed or zero-emission pneumatic devices for both new and existing operations. Months of negotiations leading to the AQCC rule involved local governments, environmental groups, and industry. "Last year's terrifying wildfires were yet another reminder that climate change is here and local communities across Colorado are suffering the consequences. This collaboration between local governments, environmental groups, and industry will mean less carbon pollution and cleaner, safer air. It is a win for Coloradans all over the state," said Erica Sparhawk, a trustee for the town of Carbondale and president of Colorado Communities for Climate Action, a coalition of 36 local governments across the state.