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The oil and gas industry has a history of thousands of years. Refined petroleum has been used in one form or another for thousands of years. But over the last two centuries the use of petroleum and natural gas, as a primary energy source all over the world has created a multi-billion dollar industry on the planet.
Some countries like Saudi Arabia, USA, Russia, Iraq, Iran, and Canada among others have high reserves of oil and gas and the technologies used in this industry are constantly evolving to make it more efficient and environmentally friendly. The oil industry includes exploration, extraction, refining, and transportation of oil and gas industry products to customers. These days there are lot of smart technologies being used for oilfields.
The following are some of the technologies involved in this industry:
Structure of the Oil and Gas Industry
Oil and gas industry can be divided into three categories. Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream are the three categories that cover this industry. Upstream includes exploration, extraction and development, and production of oil and natural gas. Midstream level in the oil and gas industry structure includes storage, transportation, and processing of oil and gas. Downstream includes refining of crude oil and purifying of natural gas. It also includes distribution of these oil and natural gas products to consumers.
Technologies Used in the Oil and Gas Industry
- Technology has developed in a great way over the last two hundred years in the oil and gas industry. Wirelines, seismic surveys, deepwater exploration, shale and other advancements of technology in this industry have created a mega global industry which provides a large percentage of the world’s energy needs.
- Technology and innovation in the oil and gas industry have helped the industry sustain its development in the 21st Digitalization has helped the industry in all the categories of the structure of the industry.
- Process simplification and automation technologies help reservoir management and improve the efficiency and safety of the drilling processes. Automation technologies help with both speed of the drilling operation and safety of the extraction process.
- Enhanced production is possible with system integration technologies that are controlled and monitored through the process of digitization of the upstream processes like extraction within the production supply chain.
- The technology of real-time data analytics helps to monitor the production process and also reducing downtime at production sites making it a much more productive and efficient process. Data and information obtained by technologies like data analytics and automation will reduce costs in the industry and make it more sustainable.
- Using digital technology in the oil and gas industry can help in data analytics, cyber security, fraud detection, process automation, increasing the productivity of an oil refinery or an oil and gas plant, reaching customers and marketing products. Technology helps from the exploration phase to delivering petroleum products to customers.
- Digital technologies are not just helping the industry in its supply chain management but also in areas of financial management, tax efficiency, and environmental protection, the safety of staff, the safety of the environment, marketing, and cyber security.
- Oil and gas industry needs to constantly do more to become more environmentally friendly and technologies in this industry are helping with this process.
- Robots detecting oil spills before they happen, sponge technology to soak up oil spills, a technology that helps separate oil and water and other such technologies help prevent disasters that can be caused by potential oil spills.
- Some tech trends include new extraction technologies and new ways to monitor pipelines through drones and sensors. It also includes better technologies in transportation systems and better ways to explore and find new oil fields and surveying the earth’s strata to find, capture and extract oil and natural gas.
The oil and gas industry has to keep adopting new technologies in order to progress. Renewable energy is more sustainable and environmentally friendly putting a lot of pressure on this industry.
Making this industry environmentally safe, cost-efficient and able to absorb external shocks and policy changes is the key to its success.
Oil and gas industry is going through a process of digital transformation over the last decade and technologies in engineering, scientific discovery, geology, data analytics and automation of the production plants has helped the industry. Technologies help every step of the process of production and distribution in the oil and gas industry making it an essential factor in the industry.