E&P Notes (February 2017)
- Stephen Rassenfoss (JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor) | Trent Jacobs (JPT Senior Technology Writer) | Stephen Whitfield (JPT Staff Writer)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 22 - 27
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Petroleum Engineering Schools Begin To See Enrollment Declines
Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor
Enrollment in US petroleum engineering programs has peaked and is on the downslide, matching the short-lived surge in the 1980s, when a generation of engineers were graduated.
Lloyd Heinze, the petroleum engineering professor at Texas Tech University who compiles this annual survey, does not think the current downturn “will be as bad” as the one 3 decades ago. The big question is: Will that long trough be repeated after a decade where the industry stepped up its recruiting to hire college graduates in time for the many workers nearing retirement?
That will depend on the level of industry hiring in coming years, which he said is impossible to reliably predict because hiring plans are subject to sudden changes.
Four Misconceptions That Lead to Drilling Automation Failure
Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer
Drilling automation is one of the most promising emerging technologies that the oil and gas industry has to look forward to. The potential benefits span the spectrum from health and safety to lower costs and repeatable well results.
But before this technology leaps from pilot to center stage, early adopters will be challenged to create new managerial strategies that improve the interaction of human crews with automated rig systems, according to one expert.
“In all the projects that I have worked on, what I have found is that the issues involving people were much bigger than the technical issues,” said Bill Koederitz, chief technology officer at GK Plus Innovations, during a presentation at a recent SPE Gulf Coast Section event.
Commercial GTL Project Opens in Southeast Texas
Stephen Whitfield, Staff Writer
Infra Technology, a company specializing in the development of synthetic fuels from natural gas, coal, and biomass, opened the first completed small-scale commercial gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in the state of Texas. Located in Wharton, a small town 60 miles southwest of Houston, the plant will produce synthetic crude oil from natural and associated gas.
The Wharton plant is Infra’s first plant in the US. The company has been operating pilot plants in Russia for the past 7 years.
Modularly constructed, the plant utilizes GTL technology based on the Fischer-Tropsch process, where hydro-carbons are created through a series of chemical reactions. The plant will operate in two stages. The first stage involves the production of synthesis gas (syngas) through a reformer that converts solid fuel into gaseous reactants. The technology processes feedgas with varying density, from dry methane to heavy gases.
Energy Policy Uncertain in the Wake of Brexit Referendum
Stephen Whitfield, Staff Writer
With an uncertain future spawning from the Brexit referendum, the British government is seeking to maintain as much consistency in its energy policy as possible. A representative from the British Consulate of Houston said there will be changes to the way goods, services, and people move from the UK to the EU, and while very few concrete statements can be made about how Brexit will impact the oil and gas industry, investment in Britain’s offshore and onshore assets will be critical for the country moving forward.
In a presentation hosted by the SPE Gulf Coast Section’s International Study Group, Cynthia Conner examined the potential challenges and opportunities facing the oil and gas industry in the wake of Brexit. Conner is a senior policy lead at the British Consulate of Houston and a member of the Global and Economic Policy Group at the British Embassy in Washington, DC.
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