New tech is changing undersea drilling too – peak oil #27

Amazing technology developments are making drilling in the ocean easier, reducing cost, and revealing the locations of hard-to-find oil.

Six Tech Advancements Changing the Fossil Fuels Game at Rigzone outlines the changes.

I like this sentence that points out what everyone knows (specifically that a particular well or field only so much oil and will eventually run dry) with what the peak oilers refuse to believe (that there is another field to drill which is now reachable with new technology):

Rig advancements are coming online in tandem with the significantly increased momentum to drill in deeper waters as shallower reserves run out. 

Oh, and advancement in technology is just one of several fatal flaws to the “peak oil” foolishness.

Here’s some of the new tech. One of the 6 applies to drilling on land – at least I think it doesn’t apply to deep-sea drilling.

Ultra deep drilling, already mentioned.

Subsea production – doing some of the processing on the ocean floor instead of pulling stuff to the surface, processing there, and pushing the fluids back to the ocean floor.

The details are beyond my comprehension, but then that is why I read articles like this – to learn.

E&P companies are expected to invest a whopping $19 billion this year in new equipment to help out.

Multipad drilling – 4, 12, 36 (Devon Energy in Barnett Shale) or 51 (Encana in Colorado) wells from one pad.

Supercomputing applied to massive amounts of data – Putting supercomputers to work processing vast amounts of data allows precise calculation of where the sweet spots are.

Just like with ultrasounds for diagnosis of unborn babies has advanced to 3D and 4D, the geology whizs have 3D and 4D imaging. 3D gives a multidimensional view of an entire field. 4D somehow allows the whizs to calculate how a field is changing over time. It’s way beyond my simple brain how you can figure that out, let alone how that helps you determine where to drill.

Here’s what it looks like now, compared to the ancient days of 20 years ago:

What would have taken decades with supercomputing technology in the 1990s, now can be accomplished in a matter of weeks.

As if we needed more nails in the coffin of “Peak Oil”:

Supercomputing essentially puts the idea of peak oil to bed for the foreseeable future.

Floating LNG liquification plants – Yeah, dropping natural gas to -260F on a platform floating over the undersea field. It’s commercially feasible now. No need to build pipelines from the wells to the shore. No need to build a plant that has a limited life –

…these floating facilities can be moved to a new location once existing fields are depleted.

Shell is building a huge facility that will be moored 200 km out to sea. It will cost around $11B or $13B to construct (yeah, billions) and will be 6 times the size of an aircraft carrier. Capacity?

The facility will produce about 3.6 million metric tons of LNG and 1.3 million tons of gas condensate a year.

Wireless connectivity – Putting lots more monitoring equipment in place that can talk wirelessly to each other. Way over my head why this is a big deal in energy exploration, but it is apparently a very big deal.


All of those things are making exploration and production cheaper, making oil available that wasn’t reachable before, making it economical to get oil and gas that wasn’t economical before, and revealing energy that the geologists didn’t know about before.

If you’ve read this far in my post, you will really enjoy the full article. Check it out.

Can we finally bury “Peak Oil?”

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