Technology
Virtual reality
1 April 2006
Oilfield operators and explorers are using more comprehensive simulation tools than ever before to plan ahead and mitigate risk to achieve the maximum potential from oil and gas projects, writes Martin Clark
The billion-dollar blockage
1 April 2006
Cold-flow technology could save the offshore energy industry billions of dollars by preventing flowline blockages that hold up production and prolong the economic life of many fields. Anne Feltus reports
Technology firms wait for majors to dig deeper
1 April 2006
Seabed drilling rigs have been around in one form or another for decades, but high costs and technical obstacles have stemmed their widespread use. Now, as exploration moves ever deeper into the oceans, developers hope they have a technology whose time has come. Ian Lewis writes
In vogue
1 April 2006
With the start-up of Oryx expected within a few months, 2006 could mark the start of a GTL boom. Ayesha Daya reports from Doha's Megas Summit, a catwalk for the energy industry's latest fad
Coiled-tubing drilling gets big
29 November 2005
Unnoticed by most except the specialist contractors, over the past three years there has been a four-fold increase in the worldwide annual total of wells drilled with coiled-tubing equipment. The new technology – troubled by equipment problems in its early days – is still aimed at niche applications, but it has grown into a big business, Martin Quinlan writes
A problem for the future
1 July 2005
The number of platforms being decommissioned each year in the US Gulf of Mexico is outpacing the number of new installations. As retiring platforms are found in ever-deeper waters, innovative solutions will be required, writes Anne Feltus
Collaboration creates ultra-deep opportunities
1 July 2005
It is ironic that one of the largest and most complex development projects undertaken in the US Gulf of Mexico (GoM) has been labelled the Independence Hub, writes Anne Feltus
Exploration revolution
1 July 2005
Electromagnetic surveying has long been a vital tool for academic geologists. Now the race is on to commercialise it as a way of detecting hydrocarbons deposits. The results could revolutionise oil and gas exploration, writes Ian Lewis
The discovery challenge
1 May 2005
Good times may be here for the oil and gas industry. At around $50 a barrel, oil prices are high and some analysts say they could rise much further. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that fossil-fuel resources are more than adequate to meet demand until 2030 and beyond. To profit from that environment, firms must apply innovative technologies, writes Tony Wood, global chemicals and petroleum executive, IBM
Standards unlock upstream innovation
1 May 2005
Technology and innovation drive E&P development, but technological complexity is the enemy of innovation. Establishing standards is essential for managing complexity. Effective industry standards can free geoscientists and engineers to spend more time on innovation, problem solving and improving operational results, writes Steve C Comstock, vice-president of upstream technical computing, ExxonMobil Exploration
The digital oilfield
1 May 2005
With technology infiltrating practically every aspect of our lives it is little wonder that the future oil and gas industry will depend more than ever on innovation in this area to unlock future production and help sustain profitability. Martin Clark writes
LNG: STL ahead of its time
1 April 2005
The award-winning Submerged Turret Loading Buoy system, developed by Norway's APL, is being put to the test on the world's first offshore LNG terminal in the US Gulf of Mexico. Martin Clark reports
Abandoning pump and dump
1 April 2005
AGR Subsea, a Norwegian company, has developed technology that allows for drilling fluid, or mud, used in subsea wells to be returned to the rig without the use of a riser. The technology offers an environmentally friendly alternative to leaving the mud on the seafloor, a common practice known as pump and dump, Anne Feltus reports
To infinity and beyond
1 April 2005
The eerie depths of the Atlantic were the making of the SpiderBOT Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), which achieved international fame for its high-resolution film documentation of the Titanic. Now, this innovative technology used in Hollywood is available to help oil and gas firms in their deep-sea exploration work, writes Martin Clark
Vessel classification: attention to detail
1 March 2005
As the oil and gas industry moves offshore, classification societies are busy tagging the vessels of tomorrow, writes Martin Clark
Canadian values at the international table
1 January 2005
Driven by combinations of their technological know-how, a gambler's nerve and shrinking opportunities on their home turf, Calgary's oil-patch leaders are scouring the world for challenges, writes WJ Simpson
North Sea work about to accelerate
1 December 2004
Although decommissioning—in common with death and taxes—is inevitable, so far there have been many fewer decommissioning projects in the North Sea than had been forecast. New technology, the emergence of firms specialising in tail-end production and high oil prices have all helped to defer shut-down day for many fields. But decommissioning work is expected to accelerate in the next few years, Martin Quinlan writes
An ultra-deep-water alternative
1 April 2004
A uniquely shaped semisubmersible drilling and production platform, called Octabuoy, could rival spars, tension leg platforms (TLPs) and conventional semisubmersibles as the floating production system of choice for developing ultra-deep-water fields. Its name is derived from the octagonal ring pontoon that keeps the structure afloat and supports four columns and the topside facility. Anne Feltus reports
Deep and heavy concepts
1 April 2004
Extensive heavy-oil resources have been discovered in Brazil's deep waters, but technical barriers to producing this oil economically have, in many cases, prevented development. Petrobras? research centre, Cenpes, is working on solutions through its heavy-oil technology programme, Propes
Time to standardise
1 December 2003
Despite ever-greater attention to costs, the oil and gas industry is, according to IBM, spending $14bn this year on IT systems. Such an outlay would suggest that most players have cutting-edge and well integrated systems. With a few exceptions, the reality is rather different, reports Nigel Ash
Breaking the mould
1 December 2003
Schlumberger plans to direct its efforts at maximising recovery from mature fields, with business shifting increasingly to areas such as the Middle East. Technology will make the difference between success and failure. Tom Nicholls talks to Chakib Sbiti, head of the group’s oilfield services division
Conquering the ultra-deep
1 October 2003
Although exploration in the US GoM has extended well beyond the mile-deep mark, technical problems posed by these water depths and the distance from existing infrastructure make development of ultra-deep discoveries complex and costly. Energy companies are pushing technology to the limit and combining capital and human resources to improve the economics of marginal ultra-deep fields. Anne Feltus reports
Cell-spar platform takes shape
1 October 2003
Spar production platforms for deep-water fields have a fairly short history – the first facility was installed in 1996. But, in just seven years, they have evolved through three generations. The first example of the latest variant, the cell spar, is due to start flowing gas in the second quarter of next year, Martin Quinlan writes
Pushing the boundaries
1 October 2003
Offshore exploration and production (E&P) began in the early 1900s. Since then, the definition of deep water has extended as technology has advanced. Until 1998, it was considered to be anything off the continental shelf, at depths greater than 200 metres. Then it moved to 300 metres, but was quickly extended to 500 metres, Nigel Ash writes
Deep water, deep thinking
1 April 2003
The world’s deep-water oil flows through a surprising variety of production facilities, with vessel-based schemes dominating in the Gulf of Guinea and various designs of spars, tension-leg platforms and semi-submersibles employed in the Gulf of Mexico. Engineers have difficult choices to make as they select designs for the next generation of fields in up to 3,000 metres of water, Martin Quinlan writes