The energy industry has fallen on rough times as of late causing a spate of layoffs, stacked rigs and budget cuts. But despite the market climate and reduced spending, production levels are holding steady, evidence of the ongoing technological advancements being applied to oil and gas production, allowing producers to do more with less.
The innovations being implemented vary widely across the industry and with the size of each company. Some firms are making changes such as toying with different chemical cocktails and types of frac sand as a means to increase production. Other companies are reevaluating how drilling systems are monitored, while some are adjusting how a well site’s power demands are met.
Rather than relying on pumps that operated 24 hours a day, for example, some companies are beginning to use systems that can turn on and off as needed. By using variable-speed controls and computing systems, companies are able to decrease fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.
With pumps no longer operating continuously, the costs for repair and maintenance are reduced enough to shave up to three dollars from the per barrel production costs.
Other firms are taking actions such as drilling multiple wells at once rather than one at a time by employing moveable rigs. By using these ‘walking rigs’ companies are drilling and completing multiple wells at a time, drastically reducing the time required to drill each well.
While many speculated that the dramatic fall in oil prices last year combined with the sustainability of Middle Eastern oil output could have a dire impact on domestic operations, innovations within the industry are proving the long-term viability of North American oil and gas production.