Worldwide demand for oil and gas means increased production in offshore, small and mature fields; more remote, deeper and arctic reserves; and unconventional resources. Producing oil and gas from these resources creates challenges that require advanced technologies to increase yield as well as reduce CAPEX and OPEX costs — all while efficiently managing production during the life of the field.
With mounting concerns for the environment, the industry is investing to reduce its operational footprint, greenhouse gas emissions and water usage; it is also striving to accelerate accident prevention and response.
Oil and gas production is a balance of factors including safety, cost, reliability, performance, regulation and production targets over the life of the field. This balance is always difficult to achieve. Multiphase-flow, high-pressure, high-temperature conditions as well as changing operating conditions (hurricane wind forces and wave impact) create complex design challenges that involve interacting physics.
With production fields in challenging locations and remote sites, costs to move products from wellhead to storage to market escalate — and engineering challenges become more complex. Increasing natural gas and oil production from new liquid resources requires new pipelines, rail tanks, and storage facilities. Updating aging infrastructure is also needed.
Refiners and processors look to modernization, flex processes and advanced technologies to manage aging assets, varying crude, and greater demand for cleaner, higher-value intermediates. But modifying existing plants, designing processes, and building new upgrading units, cokers and flex-fuel equipment are capital-intensive.
Because of the changing nature of oil and gas projects, technology innovation plays an important role in driving capital and operational efficiency. Advancements – such as equipment and processes that reduce time to first oil, construction costs, downtime and production bottlenecks – enable realization of intended operating margins.
Energy companies invest in technology and processes designed to reduce greenhouse gas emission, decrease water usage, and prevent leaks and spills. Engineering simulation is the tool of choice in developing extraction processes that use less water, chemicals and energy to mobilize hydrocarbons.
The industry's focus on safety and reliability is rooted in the high cost of oil and gas production, maintenance and unscheduled downtime. Product failure can impact the environment as well as human life. Engineering groups focus on developing reliable equipment and processes that thrive under real-life conditions, which are often impossible to replicate in experiments.
Untapped oil and gas reserves are found in challenging conditions: deep waters, frigid environments, remote sites and small fields. Cost-efficient drilling and production for multi-billion dollar projects incorporate integrated processes, advanced control technologies and smart equipment, applied in reservoirs, wells, processing, transport and storage.