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Pioneer Natural Resources announced this week new greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions-reduction targets across its Permian Basin operations. The plan, rolled out in the company’s new sustainability report, calls for a 25% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 and a 40% reduction in methane emissions by 2030. The Irving, Texas-based shale producer has also committed to flaring less than 1% of its associated gas and aims to eliminate routine flaring by 2030, and possibly as soon as 2025. By 2022, the new flaring limit will apply to the assets Pioneer is acquiring through its purchase of Parsley Energy. Pioneer announced it was buying the smaller Permian player in a deal valued at $4.5 billion in October.
Despite having many of the technologies enabled by advanced connectivity already at its disposal, the oil and gas sector has yet to realize much of connectivity’s potential—and the potential is significant. According to McKinsey's estimates, making use of advanced connectivity to optimize drilling and production throughput and improve maintenance and field operations could add up to $250 billion of value to the industry’s upstream operations by 2030. Of that value, between $160 billion and $180 billion could be realized with existing infrastructure, while an additional $70 billion could be unlocked with low-Earth orbit satellites and next-generation 5G technologies. McKinsey’s work with the oil and gas sector suggests offshore operators can reduce costs, including operational and capital expenditures, by 20 to 25% per barrel by relying on connectivity to deploy digital tools and analytics. Such a dramatic technological lift can’t come soon enough.
Emerson has launched cloud-native software designed to find opportunities for field development through data mining and automation. The reservoir analytics software, called SpeedWise Reservoir Opportunity, was developed in collaboration with Quantum Reservoir Impact (QRI). Emerson and QRI say the software can reduce the time needed to identify field-development opportunities from months to weeks. The software uses automated geoengineering work flows to identify and rank recompletions, vertical sweet spots, and horizontal wells. By analyzing historical field performance and benchmarking against analog assets, the framework selects the optimal parameters for the identification process.
The notion of reducing our environmental footprint, minimizing leaks and spillages, and identifying operational efficiencies is nothing new. We have been addressing these issues for years. Sustainability, however, has gained a higher profile recently, especially since the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change accord and the evolution of alternative energies. It came, therefore, as a pleasant surprise to review an extraordinary wealth of well-written papers relating not only to this topic, but to all manner of fascinating engineering issues. Let me back up a bit.
US Job Numbers Up for OFS and Equipment Industry, But Outlook Remains Unclear The increase in OFS and equipment sector jobs over the past 2 months came amid higher oil and gas production. But increases in COVID-19 cases are causing uncertainty about when and how much demand will rise. Texas Regulator To Place New Limits on Allowable Flaring Oil and gas producers in the state are being asked to submit data and economic analysis on why they cannot sell natural gas before they are granted permission to flare it. UAE Has Become World’s Newest Producer of Unconventional Gas The first delivery of shale gas in the UAE marks a major milestone toward its goal of reaching 1 Bcf/D by 2030. It also signals the expansion of hydraulic fracturing in the UAE’s conventional fields.
The final afternoon of the 2020 ATCE saw a wide-ranging virtual special session that covered an important but often overlooked facet of the unfolding digitalization revolution. While the rising wave of digital technology usually has been associated with production optimization and cost savings, panelists emphasized that it can also positively influence the global perception of the industry and enhance the lives of its employees. Chaired by Weatherford’s Dimitrios Pirovolou and moderated by John Clegg, J.M. Clegg Ltd., the session, “The Impact of Digital Technologies on Upstream Operations To Improve Stakeholder Perception, Business Models, and Work-Life Balance,” highlighted expertise taken from professionals across the industry. Panelists included petroleum engineering professor Linda Battalora and graduate research assistant Kirt McKenna, both from the Colorado School of Mines; former SPE President Darcy Spady of Carbon Connect International; and Dirk McDermott of Altira Group, an industry-centered venture-capital company. The final afternoon of the 2020 ATCE saw a wide-ranging virtual special session that covered an important but often overlooked facet of the unfolding digitalization revolution.
While drones have been used on oil and gas facilities for video inspections and other tasks, they have been operated by an on-site pilot or one positioned on a bobbing workboat adjacent to an offshore platform. Now a proof-of-concept study conducted by TechnipFMC has tested the feasibility of a global drone system with drones operated remotely by pilots based anywhere in the world. The study is the subject of a paper (OTC 30241) presented at the Offshore Technology Conference Asia in Kuala Lumpur in November. Construction supervision and health, safety, and environmental (HSE) monitoring were the main drivers of the study. The construction supervision application is part of a larger digitalization ambition to monitor and manage construction activities with data generated from the drone ultimately feeding an internal software dedicated to this business process.
Today, drill bits and mud motor issues can account for more than half of the reasons for pulling out of hole before total depth (TD) on directional drilling wells. The complete paper presents a methodology designed for optimally matching drill bits, mud motors, and bottomhole-assembly (BHA) components for reduced failure risks and improved drilling performance. Work Flow The overall work flow includes detailed modeling of each sophisticated component and an algorithm to combine them efficiently at the system level without losing their specific nature. The drill-bit model is created in 4D—3D space modeling plus the transient behavior with time. The detailed cutting structure model may include specifying the number of cutters and how to place them in a 3D cutter space.
Achieving and sustaining performance drilling’s intended benefits—improved drilling efficiency with minimal downhole tool failures and the associated reductions in project cycle time and operational costs—requires new protocols in drilling-system analysis. Drilling-system components [bits, reamers, bottomhole assemblies (BHAs), drive systems, drilling parameters, and hydraulics] must be analyzed independently for their relevance on the basis of application types and project challenges. Additionally, the drilling system must undergo holistic evaluations to establish functional compatibility and drilling-parameter responses and effects, considering project objectives and key performance indicators. This comprehensive physics-based approach ensures durability and rate-of-penetration (ROP) improvements without compromising stability and downhole tool reliability. The success of this process is strongly dependent on vibration control.
In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the oil and gas industry, regulators, and other stakeholders recognized the need for increased collaboration and data sharing to augment their ability to better identify safety risks and address them before an accident occurs. The SafeOCS program is one such collaboration between industry and government. It is a voluntary confidential reporting program that collects and analyzes data to advance safety in oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) established the program with input from industry and then entered into an agreement with the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to develop, implement, and operate the program. As a principal statistical agency, BTS has considerable data-collection-and-analysis expertise with near-miss reporting systems for other industries and the statutory authority to protect the confidentiality of the reported information and the reporter’s identify. Source data submitted to BTS are not subject to subpoena, legal discovery, or Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.