Famous Energy Blog Discusses Future of Global Oil Exploration
Review of Role of Modern Exploration Technologies.
26 JANUARY 2014, PARK AVENUE, NEW YORK
SummaryHow can we get prepared and even form, the dramatic development in the international energy system that will emerge in the coming years? This question is adhered to by a declaration quoted in recent publication by Shell Oil. This inquest is a food for thought for every responsible person in government, business and civil society. The economic situation of 2008 observed a sheer decline in oil prices. While only month's earlier analysts recommended that the world had actually entered an era of over $100 per barrel oil, rates instantly dropped under $70 and in January 2009 to under $40.
Future of Global Oil Exploration
How can we get prepared and even form, the dramatic development in the international energy system that will emerge in the coming years? This question is adhered to by a declaration quoted in recent publication by Shell Oil. This inquest is a food for thought for every responsible person in government, business and civil society. The economic situation of 2008 observed a sheer decline in oil prices. While only month's earlier analysts recommended that the world had actually entered an era of over $100 per barrel oil, rates instantly dropped under $70 and in January 2009 to under $40.
Considering that 2003, increasing oil prices had actually been magnificently associated with improving need from China and India, external reduces on oil production through a peak in conventional sources, OPEC impact on available supplies, and security risks posed by Western dependence on reserves in hostile countries (price drop partially validated the position of a variety of sources, consisting of George Soros: that speculation on oil futures, rather than 'hard' supply and demand, has actually responsible for much upward activity in market volatility and prices).
The current turmoil in the global economic situation emphasizes a crucial dilemma for socio-spatial researches of the international oil market: exactly how can we analyze a collection of price systems formed by assumptions of future market disorders, greatly influenced by representations of reducing fossil fuel sources, environmental issues and insecurity in distant sites of extraction?
To do so, we can do two types of social analysis of the oil market, one from corporate actors, and the various others from scholastics. Shell Oil's scenarios magazines, first, revealed an expression of the oil industry's reading of the future and its feedback to resistance in its operation setting. In addition, the Scenarios existing stories that promote the recurring development of their procedures and factor at remedies to the kinds of resistance they face this instance in the Niger Delta and the Canadian Tar Sands (redubbed 'Oil Sands' by industrial operators since the term appears cleaner).
A second interpretive strategy to the oil market originates from socio-spatial and empirical research studies concerning electricity assets and monetary trading, which concern the increasing relevance of speculative futures exchanges to oil price volatility over the previous two many years.
As a matter of fact there are many challenging facts which may be experienced by the oil and gas sector:
- Role of modern exploration technologies.
- Concerns regarding the critical effects of greenhouse gas emissions from nonrenewable fuel source consumption.
- Environmental Issues associated with hydraulic fracturing,
- OPEC policy in FTY,
- Deep Water exploration,
- Increasing demand from India and China,
- A decline in standard sources of oil,
To take care of such critical impacts of nonrenewable fuel source development, and as we will certainly see, the Scenarios to 2050 recommend a worldwide carbon market, along with the internment of excess CO2 through Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). A vital concern of adversaries of both carbon investing and CCS, that real reductions in fossil gas use will certainly not happen unless professional administrative restrictions on production and intake are imposed, stays un-addressed.
Moreover, Oil exploration is a very important upstream activity. The upstream sector of the oil and gas industry involves the searching for and the recovery of crude oil and also its production. The discovery and exploration of the crude oil take place in the upstream sector. Extensive and intensive efforts have to be made in order to discover the location of the crude oil before the actual mining takes place.
There are many ways of mining or exploring crude oil, however, a notable method of doing this is known as hydraulic fracturing. The subject of oil exploration would not be completed if hydraulic fracturing is not properly examined and studied. This is because lots of crude oil explorations done in the world today leverage this method.
What is hydraulic fracturing?
Hydraulic fracturing, hydrofacturing or fracking involves the fracturing of rocks by channeling pressurized liquid to it. This method of crude oil exploration was invented in 1947 and it accounts for up to 60 percent of crude oil explorations in the world, according to an estimation made in 2010. Hydraulic fractures can as well form naturally but it can as well be induced. Millions of gallons of water, chemicals and then sand are used in fracking. Almost 600 chemicals are utilized in fracking fluid, featuring some carcinogens and toxins like, Uranium, Ethylene, Glycol, Radium, Lead Methanol, Hydrochloric Acid, Mercury Formaldehyde and so forth.
The chemicals used in the process are injected at a very high pressure into the well so as to erupt fractures on the oil bearing rocks. Through the fractures created, different solutions can pop up to the surface. Solutions that may be obtained from this process could include petroleum, gas, uranium-bearing solution, brine water and so forth. Fracking is commonly used for exploring in different wells including such as shale gas, coal seam gas and so forth.
Up to 40 percent of the hydraulic fracturing done wells in the world are performed in the United States. 2.5 million Frackings were recorded globally in 2012 and more than 1 million of these take place in the United States of America. This method of crude oil exploration can as well be used in exploring uranium.
The question arises that is hydraulic fracturing is beneficial or harmful to the environment? Of course, with technological advancements, high end technical processes are employed towards efficient fracking but it is also important to look at the possible downside of the fracking process and how it puts the fate of the future global oil exploration to risk.
Hydraulic fracturing and Futureof GlobalOil Exploration
The positive aspects of hydraulic fracturing cannot be argued. When the positive aspect of this major crude oil exploration process is mentioned, one of the factors to be considered is its vast economic benefits. Hydrocarbons far beyond reach can be easily accessed through this efficient process. It is quite important to look at the positivity and the negativity of the crude oil extraction process in order to ascertain how to actually make the most of it for the overall benefits of man and his environment.
Obviously, future oil exploration has to facedownsides ofhydraulic fracking which make it an unsafe process for man and his environment. It puts lots of activities in the human environment to risk, making the environment unsafe for existence. Opponents of this process hold its demerits and downsides as strong points to eliminate the process. However, proponents have used their political powers to make fracking established in the United States and other countries of the world. Because of its demerits, fracking has been proscribed in most parts of the world; however, countries like the UK and the US have removed the ban but have determined to regulate the process so as to minimize the risk factors involved in them.
Fracking primarily puts the environment to immense danger. Lots of environmental downsides occur as a result of this petroleum exploration process. This might include the following
- The failure of wells or even its leakage can lead to the contamination of ground water. This makes the water available to people unsafe for drinking and therefore putting human life to danger.
- As a result of the contamination of ground water, fresh water might become depleted. Thus fracking does not only put human life to danger but also it puts aquatic life to lots of danger, displacing them from their natural habitat and making lots of aquatic animals extinct.
- The poisonous gases released during the petroleum extraction process will put the air quality to risk. This also makes the air unhealthy as a slew of poisonous gases are released to it. Thus, human, plants and other living things suffer it greatly.
- The gases and fracking chemicals might migrate to the surface during the process, also making the environment unfavorable. Also, surface contaminants from spills and flow-back can also result to health dangers.
As during the process of shale cracking, the mixture reaches the end of the well where the high tension induces the nearby shale rock to crack, making cracks where gas flows into the well. During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals seep out from the equipment and contaminate close-by groundwater.
This infected well water is used by neighboring cities and communities. There have been over 1,000 known cases of water contamination next to areas of gas exploration in addition to cases of physical, neurological damages and breathing as a result of drinking contaminated water in US. The waste fluid is left in outdoors pits to vaporize, launching dangerous volatile natural materials (VOCs) into the atmosphere, producing polluted air, acid rainfall, and ground level ozone. Consequently, hydraulic fracking generates around 300,000 barrels of gas a day, but at the cost many environmental, safety, and health threats.
Deep water exploration
This has to do with exploring oil deposit bound under the sea beds using advanced technologies and tools in future. Operators face lots of challenges when it comes to the exploration, development and production in the deep water. High level of expertise and planning are required in this form of exploration so as to achieve efficiency in the exploration process. Operators look out for the working process when it comes to deep water exploration and they may spend millions of dollars to achieve this. Risk has to be reduced drastically minimum in this exploration process and efficiency has to be increased.
It is quite important to understand where the deep water exploration is headed in order for us to know the fate and the future of the global oil exploration. The Brazilian pre-salt and the Gulf of Mexico’s Paleogene resulted from going deeper than the established basins close to the lowest source rock. There is great need to explore the vast regions of the Angolan conjugate margin of Brazil. The exploration of the medial and distant part of the young delta system gives rise to the Congo fan oil discoveries of West Africa, the Krishna Godavari gas of East India,Rovuma delta gas discoveries of East Africa, and the greater Nile fan gas discoveries. In these exploration zones, traditional source rocks are unsure. In regions like Israel and India, large deposit of oil took place as a result of decomposition of biological materials over thousands of years.
This obviously indicates something worthy of note about the future of the oil exploration trends. It indicates that there is need to go deeper in exploration, even to the source rock. It also shows the deltas as showing lots of surprises.
There are some other challenges and lags with deep water exploration process. Different regions are yet to be explored and these include mostly the ice-bound continental shelf regions of the world. Such regions include the Canadian Mackenzie, the Russian Lena and other rivers. In fact, 60 percent of the arctic continental margin lies in Russian waters and therefore it is quite obvious that Russian has large dominance in this respect when it comes to YTF.
The Issues to be resolved
Examining the entire scenario from an engineering point of view, it becomes quite obvious that the ice is the issue in question. Other issues that call for attention are the temperature in these regions as well as the lack of daylight for half of the year. This simply connotes that it would not be easy or fast to leverage these rich features bound or located in the icy regions of the world. Much cost would also be required in order to take access these ice-bound features. Efficient ice management has to be ensured in the process. Icebreakers have to be leveraged in order to ensure that the drilling vessel is protected and that no large ice block reaches it. Thus, such extensive deep water exploration process calls for teamwork and significant level of coordination.
Another important issue to consider is the public response to arctic exploration as well as the response of the public to companies who perform these services. It is very pertinent that these industries leverage the highest level of technology so as to drastically minimize oil spillage in the arctic region. The industry needs to give the members of the public assurance that they can handle the oil spill issue that may occur in the ice-bound marine environment and ensure it does not affect man and his environment.
The reason why this is highly important is that the many communities depend on the marine body for their sustenance and also the marine environment is a very sensitive environment. Disturbing the marine ecosystem with oil spill can cause tremendous damage on the aquatic environment as well as the human environment. This therefore calls for an open dialog between stakeholders based on good science and knowledge transfer.
With the debates on arctic exploration still intensive, it is likely that the shallow water and onshore exploration will continue. This leads us back to where we commence, however, we need to do things differently or perhaps with an improved technology in order to achieve the success we need. A new idea might as well go a long way in solving the riddle in the entire process. A new geography like the sub-Saharan basins of Congo, Angola and Namibia can play active roles in this regard.
It is very essential that top quality and highly exclusive 3D seismic be leveraged in the drilling processes in existing onshore basins so as to make their ultimate potentials known. The 3D seismic should be shot at minimal environmental impact and also deep drilling should be employed in order to test the ideas that would be obtained.
By leveraging new and improved technologies as well as innovative ideas to re-explore, lots of successes and growth revolutions have been experienced in the US’ producing areas. The decline in oil production has been effectively reversed through high end technologies such as hydraulic fracturing. Over the last 10 years, there has been recognized oil revolutions through this innovative crude oil exploration process, hydraulic fracturing. By performing multiple stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells, crude oil explorers have been able to transform the permeability (Kh) of previously unproductive and tight oil reservoirs.
Exploration is led back to world’s oil production provinces by the need to explore for tight oil in old giant fields and exploring shale’s for sweet spots where stimulation will be productive. These great oil provinces include the lower 48 of the US; the Achimov/Bazenov of West Siberia and the Domanik Shale of the Volga Urals in Russia as well as in the Middle East.
It is quite important to understand the past of the global oil exploration in order to effectively understand its future around these resources. Research shows that there would be a decline in deep water discoveries over the next two decades, rise and fall of arctic ice-bound discoveries and also a sustained exploration delivery from onshore basins as the continents are re-explored.
The industry truly needs more skilled manpower to man various operations and to ensure effectiveness in the processes. Also, innovative ideas are required in order to ensure success in the future oil and gas exploration. The trend in the oil and gas exploration shows that the future trends of exploration are really multifaceted and therefore lots of skills and expertise are required for success to be achieved in this regards. The industry also needs new explorers, cutting edge technologies as well as new data. Information technology would play active and a very important role in ensuring the required result in the future global oil exploration. There are vast of unreached basins and deltas in the world which the oil industry has to access. This is why improved technologies as well as advanced tools are required. The frontier of deep water basins and deltas are examples of regions of the world to be explored. The major challenge in exploring in arctic regions is that there is unsure license in exploring regions without the bounds of Russia.
Basically, there would be three dominant exploration trends in the industry owing to the move into re-exploring the onshore and deep water regions of the world. These include:
- The exploration of the frontier basins of the Congo
- Exploring the unexplored rocks with a philosophy of “source rock upwards”
- The exploration of missed and tight pay in and around the world’s giant fields and source rocks.
The rate of execution of these events is not really known but it will be different for different countries of the world. It is quite obvious that the arctic offshore exploration will be led by Russia but the rate at which other countries will follow is uncertain.
Hydrocarbons are of immense importance to mankind as they are used in the production of various materials as well as for energy purposes. Hydrocarbon deposits beneath the earth surface are determined by some visible surface features such as natural gas seeps, oil seeps, pockmarks and so forth. More so, the exploration depends on complex and highly sophisticated technology which involves the detection of the deposits as well as the determination of their extents.
Advanced analytical and geo-chemical methodologies are essential to describe petroleum systems in detail and need to be applied in both exploration and production of hydrocarbons. For offshore production, the companies required to develop techniques and models to evaluate and ensure the flow of hydrocarbons under adversative conditions.Magnetic survey, gravity survey, passive seismic and so forth are subjected to suspected areas to ascertain some features suspected. The features obtained are further surveyed before the exploration will be performed. The exploration involves a highly expensive and risky operation, it could be offshore and remote (usually undertaken by large corporations or governmental bodies owing to their costs between $10 and $30 million and requirements), deep water which may cost up to $100 million or more. Smaller companies may perform onshore exploration which may cost up to $100,000.
Repsol developed special technologies in the search for non-conventional hydrocarbons. In addition, company is making a great effort to upsurge its success rate in hydrocarbon exploration from 15 to 50%.
Role of Nanotechnology in Future Global Oil Exploration
Nanotechnology novelty is playing a pivotal role for further advancements on a global scale. Nanolaminants are being assessed for high-strength, high-heat tolerances and low-weight. Functionalized coverings of all kinds will certainly come to be ever before more important in unconventional advancement like nanoscale particulates are being included in drilling liquids to enhance adaptability in high-pressure situations and high-temperature for lowering fluid reduction. Downhole sensor technology likewise will see advances by introduction of nanotech engineering. Other innovations on the horizon consist of nanothermite, which is an explosive proppant that might have possible benefits in lots of applications
The utilization of surfactants nanomaterials has the potential to transform surface properties that can be pumped with the primary conclusion job and possibly improve recuperation right from the start of job
OPEC and the Oil Industry
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an organization whose mission is often misconstrued but which work hard to ensure effectiveness in oil industry as well as its exploration and pricing, especially in its member nations. It was born in 1960 following the announcement by the erstwhile dominant multinational oil companies known as “Seven Sisters” that oil price will be further reduced. This was a huge demerit to oil producing countries besides the marginalization they faced from industrial nations. In 60s, OPEC spent lot time in checking out the role of unsteady NOCs, to aid them coordinate their activities in the worldwide oil market and carry out proper programs of activity. In 1968, an innovative declaration for petroleum policies was summarized concerns of member countries of OPEC. The key point included that member countries should be authorized to undertake them directly the utilization of their hydrocarbon resources. The situation changed during 70s’ when numerous oil producing countries nationalized their oil industry, thus reiterating authority over their natural resources. 77 per cent of global proven oil reserves NOCs were controlled by 2005, but now among the top 20 oil producers from OPEC member countries,14 having NOCs / newly privatized NOCs including INOC of Iraq, Saudi Aramco PDVSA, National Iranian Oil Company, NNPC and Sonatrach.
OPEC also ensures a reasonable return for investors and producers from the sale of oil produced by its member countries. However, OPEC has not been able to raise the prices of oil since it was established. Oil has become the basic energy needed in most countries of the world, this has put intense demand on OPEC’s member country and they resort to advanced technologies such as hydraulic fracturing for the exploration of crude oil.
Shell scenarios can serve as a tool for forecasting a discursive future by its actual expression intervenes in the social assumptions that health condition speculative markets; such perilous markets have significantly come to determine oil costs in real-time. Therefore contemporary oil markets are simultaneously constructed by means of:
- Company representative assumptions of possible supply problems,
- The worth of oil.
In conclusive, the global oil exploration may face lots of challenges and issues that call for attention. Thus, there is need for stakeholders and key players in the oil industry in different countries of the world to look into these issues in order to ensure that effectiveness is brought into the process.
Hydraulic fracturing, a common method of oil exploration, posses lots of environmental hazards but by ensuring high level of regulation and making sure that the oil industry key players play by the roles, the environmental hazards can be minimized and drastically reduced. In addition, it is important that oil spillage be greatly regulated by leveraging efficient technologies and these explorations have to be done away from human residence.
Deep water exploration is a promising field, however, to make the most of it the industry require high tech processes and efficiency. Manpower to man the various operations as well as the required technicalities, skills, equipment has to be provided. It is not a cheap method and therefore will involve lots of costs.
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