Techbits: Digital Energy Conference Tackles Range of Issues
- _ JPT staff (_)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 28 - 30
- 2006. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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Oilfield applications of digital technology, including best practices, cutting-edge applications, and future technologies, were the themes of “Digital Energy 2006: Bytes and Barrels,” a 2-day conference held in Houston in February. SPE and the SPE Gulf Coast Section worked together on the event, the sixth annual conference on applications of digital technology in the oil and gas industry. The event featured the perspectives of operators, service companies, and firms directly involved in information technology (IT) on such issues as data management, how demographics will influence IT, production-operations monitoring, collaboration, systems integration, and drilling and operations.
In the conference keynote address, Steven B. Hinchman, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Production for Marathon Oil Corp., addressed “New Work Processes Required for Success.” Supply and demand factors will influence how companies operate in the future, he said. “The global energy outlook really defines this changing work model,” Hinchman said. Those factors include rising energy demand, especially in places such as China; growing transportation demand; the rise of natural gas as a global commodity; and a heavier and more sour barrel of oil that is becoming more difficult to produce.
“The most critical question international oil and gas companies face today is access to resources,” Hinchman said. By 2020, the industry will need to provide 125 million BOE in additional production capacity because of the rise in global demand and the decline rate of current producing fields, he said.
Another issue affecting how companies operate is the changing relationship between private international oil companies (IOCs) and national oil companies (NOCs), Hinchman said. NOCs control most of the world’s reserves and are becoming increasingly active in the international arena. And today, NOCs have access to the industry’s conventional technology, have more financial resources than they did in the past, and are becoming more active outside their borders. “IOCs will have to be able to differentiate themselves,” he added.
Oil and gas is becoming increasingly harder to produce because of rising E&P complexity and access to resources. Much of the industry’s focus in the future will be on producing unconventional oil and gas, new gas technologies such as liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids, Arctic seas drilling, and ultradeepwater drilling. “All this means is that technology will play an even more important role in the next 20 years than it has in the past 20,” he said. The industry’s well-noted demographic challenges also will add pressure to how companies operate.
Hinchman sees the need for a “new generation work model” that would involve:
- Integration of resource holders, suppliers, and vendors.
- Increased productivity.
- Disciplined processes and work flow.
- Leveraging of technology.
- Globalized work teams.
- Accelerated learning and knowledge transfer.
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