Like many other sectors, the oil, gas and petrochemical (OGP) industry is undergoing a significant amount of change at this time. Indeed, it is widely believed that the future growth and resulting profitability of companies operating in the OGP sector will be dependent on the development of cutting edge technologies, such as high-performance computing systems and innovative visualisation solutions.
Many experts are now of the opinion that the increasing demand on resources combined with the requirement to cut CO2 emissions to prevent serious climate change will accelerate the need for new technologies. Moreover, a recent French study has predicted that the world’s population is set to rise to 9.7 billion by the year 2050. Needless to say, the consequences of such an increase are clear; many more hydrocarbons will be needed to maintain such a large population. However, the fact that a significant amount of these hydrocarbons remain buried deep beneath the earth’s surface means the OGP industry will need a lot of technological help to find and reach them.
Cutting edge technology, in whatever guise or form, will it’s hoped enable those tasked with retrieving the hydrocarbons to make accurate models and predictions, identify subtle geological formations, compute increasingly sophisticated data sets and increase the efficiency of data interpretation. Suffice to say, speed and accuracy will be paramount in this respect; after all, information needs to be efficiently and effectively turned into pertinent data as quickly – and as accurately – as possible (it is thought fast, interactive and scalable seismic imaging tools will be integral to this).
In essence, the general consensus is that the OGP sector will simply not be able to meet the challenges it is likely to face in the future with the technology it has to available today (the analogy of trying to find atoms with a magnifying glass is perhaps quite apt in this respect). The answer, so it is believed, is really quite simple: in order to develop appropriate technological solutions and help ensure future success, the OGP sector will need to work hand in hand with the worlds of computer science and academia.
Of course, there is little point in maximising the potential benefits of cutting edge technology if it is not complemented with the best of what is already available. For example, any organisation that is looking to undertake an exploratory endeavour, future or present, will need to have adequate drilling capabilities with essential features like pipe fittings and flanges made of high quality materials, such as super duplex stainless steel.
Suffice to say, new materials capable of coping with even more intense extremes of pressure and temperature are currently under development. Hopefully, these developments, in conjunction with the technological strides that will materialise before the middle of the century will enable the OGP sector to grow and provide the planet’s population with the resources it needs to prosper well into the twenty-second century and beyond.
About the author – Bo Heamyan blogs regularly about the world’s energy resources and has written extensively about the technological and engineering side of the OGP sector for a number of leading websites, including ChemiPetro.co.uk.