E&P Notes (August 2016)

Jacobs, Trent (JPT Senior Technology Writer) | Parshall, Joel (JPT Features Editor)


E&P Notes (August 2016)

A New Reality for Training and Safety Technology

Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

If you were at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this year you may have noticed the increasingly popular trend of exhibitors using virtual reality (VR) headsets to engage with attendees. The unique visual and immersive qualities that make these devices such great marketing tools are also what some in the oil and gas industry say make them such powerful training tools.

VR technology has come a long way since its clunky ancestors were first introduced in the 1990s. Thanks to high-resolution screen technology and powerful gaming engines, the latest generation has been deemed by the techno-experts as ready for prime time. Equally important, VR has become affordable; some of the high-end devices now sell for only a few hundred dollars.

This confluence of capability and cost is why Vincent Higgins left his job as a senior-level industry consultant to become the founder and chief executive officer of Optech4D. The 4-year-old Houston-based startup develops custom training programs that recreate oilfield and facility environments inside the VR devices.


Ohio Study Tries To Pin a Number to Earthquake Risk

Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

Research and development firm Battelle is working on a new induced-seismicity study that aims to help wastewater disposal well operators in Ohio stay on the good side of state regulators.

Expected to be completed later this year, the company says the study will be the first to quantify a disposal well’s potential to cause an earthquake.

Concern over disposal wells in Ohio was brought to the fore when a series of earthquakes jolted residents of Youngstown, Ohio, in late 2011. A disposal well near downtown was assigned responsibility for the tremors and regulators responded by shuttering that well along with several located nearby— the scenario Battelle is hoping its study can prevent from happening again.


Twenty-Year Effort Brings Only Two FPSO Vessels to US GOM

Joel Parshall, JPT Features Editor

The floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel is the world’s most widely used floating production system, with 218 units worldwide installed or on order. Yet, despite the United States offshore industry’s major advance into remote, deepwater projects, there are only two FPSO vessels in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

Speaking to the Rice Global Engineering and Construction Forum at Rice University in Houston in June, floating systems consultant Peter Lovie, who has worked on FPSO-related projects for more than 2 decades of a 50-year engineering career, gave a close-up view of the persistent effort to bring FPSO facilities to the US gulf. His talk was titled “2016 and Two FPSOs in the US GOM: The Twenty-Year Saga.”

An FPSO vessel produces oil through onboard wells or is connected to subsea producing wells and in some cases receives oil from nearby production facilities. The vessel stores the produced oil in its hull and offloads the oil to tankers that station themselves next to the FPSO vessel, load the oil, and carry it to market. By offloading to tankers, FPSO facilities can avoid the need for oil pipelines connecting to shore and their major installation costs, although some FPSO units do connect with pipelines.


Shell Stays Committed to Shale Opportunities

Joel Parshall, JPT Features Editor

Shell has reaffirmed its commitment to the shale business and views it as a growth opportunity moving into the 2020s, Executive Vice President for Unconventionals Greg Guidry told members of the media in a presentation on 20 June in Houston.

Following its recent acquisition of BG Group, Shell has set the strategic priorities for its portfolio in a framework of three time horizons: cash engines of today, growth priorities (2016 and beyond), and future opportunities (2020 and beyond). Guidry noted that shale is in the last group.

While some other portfolio choices offer better prospects in the current price environment, shale has “material value upside,” Guidry said. “We have a path to profitability, and we are managing exposure. …. We have the choice to activate shale with the right pricing.” Shell’s current shale production is just less than 300,000 BOE/D.

  Country: North America > United States (1.00)
  Industry: Energy > Oil & Gas > Upstream (1.00)
  Oilfield Places: