|Theme||Visible||Selectable||Appearance||Zoom Range (now: 0)|
In some respects, the prospect of returning to some degree of normality is evident on the horizon. The future of our energy system is being transformed, and oil and gas are crucial for energy stability as well as the transformation. One of the miracles over the past year has been the accumulated knowledge around the human genome and application of this science to the rapid development of efficacious vaccines. As within oil and gas, humans can rise to the challenge to solve complex problems when identified. This is playing out as we see societal drivers around climate change and net-zero carbon emissions.
The carbon-free future should not be confused with a utopian future. A zero-carbon world will include the difficult realities experienced in Texas in February 2021. As shown in a graph of US EIA data, during the recent extreme cold event in Texas, wind and solar could not hold flat compared with their baseline the week before (4–8 February). Coal and nuclear remained mostly steady, while natural-gas producers ramped up supplies delivered to power plants by a factor of 4, helping people who were struggling to heat their homes. Natural gas may not receive well-deserved recognition from some quarters, and blackouts and loss of life still occurred, but our industry stepped up when people needed us most.
The market turmoil of 2020 left the upstream industry with diminished ranks, palpable concerns over long-term demand, and mounting pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. This made for what many consider a bullish case, as JPT has reported, for robotics uptake over the course of the decade. But there are reasons to temper expectations. After all, this is the oil and gas industry. The upstream landscape is as vast as it is specialized.
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of senior oil and gas professionals have sharpened their focus on digitalization over the past year, according to a 2021 survey by DNV (DNV Outlook). The pandemic has not only increased attention on how digital solutions can make organizations more adaptable and cost efficient, it has also forced companies to discard the normal rules and become more open to change. While data collaboration, cloud-based applications, and remote surveillance top the investment priorities for the year ahead, a growing number of respondents (7%) see additive manufacturing (AM)--the industry equivalent of 3D printing--on their spending list. As an emerging technology, AM uses 3D model data to fabricate parts, enabling, among other benefits, significant cost and time savings in contrast to many traditional manufacturing methods, where the final parts are machined out of a pre-made form. Its purpose is to alleviate and avoid long, expensive production shutdowns and reduce supply chain carbon footprints.
I will be uncharacteristically brief: if there were ever a time for operating at maximum capacity/capability, then this is it. I ask that everyone reading this column think of 10 tasks/ideas/concepts that they can perform right now that will change their trajectory (and hopefully SPE's as well), distill those 10 tasks to three, and commit like your life depends on it to performing at least one of those tasks in the next 6–12 months. Call it homework if you want, but every person reading this column can create, innovate, and deliver some task/idea/concept that will significantly benefit our industry. Don't say you have more important things to do--this is your profession and your passion. Get started, push directly to flank speed, and get it done.
Chevron has created an energy transition unit and named company insider Jeff Gustavson its head. Gustavson, who has been vice president of Chevron's North America Exploration and Production Company, will assume his new position on 2 August, serving as a corporate officer and reporting to Michael Wirth, chairman and chief executive officer. The new unit, called Chevron New Energies, will manage the supermajor's low-carbon business prospects, focusing initially on commercialization opportunities in hydrogen, carbon capture, and offsets and supporting ongoing growth in biofuels. "Chevron New Energies reflects our higher-returns, lower-carbon strategy," Wirth said. "We believe the dedication of resources in a new organization will accelerate growth in multiple business lines that we expect to be part of a lower-carbon energy system."
Are you trying to stay up to date about developments aimed at energy-transition efforts in our industry? Green Energy Billionaires While the oil and gas industry may not yet be profiting from the energy transition, a number of individuals are. According to Forbes, as of April, there were 34 billionaires throughout the world whose fortunes stem from clean energy. Here are the top 10. Clients include BMW, Volkswagen, and Geely.
Documentaries are used both to educate and tell stories that their makers believe should be heard. That applies to documentaries about the inner workings of various industries such as oil and gas. To many outside the petroleum industry, those inner workings are a black box: Money and engineering goes in, gasoline and petrochemical products come out. It is also full of stories, making it an industry ripe for documentarians. The following reviews consider a small handful of the documentaries covering the petroleum industry and what might be learned from them beyond their immediate message.
BP has acquired UK-based digital energy business Open Energi. The company's digital platform uses real-time data to optimize the performance of energy assets. It connects customers to power markets with the goal of providing flexibility at times of low renewable-energy generation and during price peaks. The share of primary energy from renewables is projected to increase from around 5% in 2018 to 60% by 2050 in the net-zero scenario set out in BP's Energy Outlook. However, because generation from these sources depends on weather conditions, the growth will also bring increased market and price volatility.
Petroleum engineering is and will be needed for decades to come to provide the required energy for the world and help alleviate the challenges of climate change. Of course, petroleum engineering will evolve into energy transition as it has been changing since its inception in modern history with the Drake well in 1895, located in Pennsylvania. At the same time, we will continue to use the current practices in our daily operations. Petroleum engineering practices can and will also be used in solving some of the climate change issues. This information is described in detail in SPE 200771 (Kamal 2020).