Comments: R&D's Future
- John Donnelly (JPT Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 2007
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 16 - 16
- 2007. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 41 since 2007
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Projections of rising global demand have placed increased emphasis on the production potential of unconventional hydrocarbons, such as heavy oil, tight gas, shale, and even more exotic sources. Against that backdrop is the ongoing debate over whether the oil and gas industry is spending enough on R&D—and which sector is responsible for that spending—so that it can satisfy the world’s need for energy.
This issue of JPT contains the last article in a yearlong series that outlined some of the R&D needs and possibilities for the future. Vik Rao, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Halliburton, sums up the high-lights of the series, which covered increasing ultimate recoveries, the potential of nanotechnology, and the promise of unconventional production growth. One of the series’ overarching themes was where the “next trillion” will come from, given that the world has consumed 1 trillion bbl of hydrocarbons to date and now faces the reality of rising global consumption and harder-to-find and harder-to-produce oil.
The JPT series is one of several actions undertaken by SPE’s R&D Advisory Committee, which was established by the SPE Board of Directors in 2001 to identify, encourage, and facilitate global R&D activities that will help to develop needed technology. The 11-member committee is made up of representatives from operators, service companies, government, and academia. In addition to the JPT articles, the committee has been active in representing SPE at industry meetings and symposia, creating the R&D Providers Directory on the spe.org website, and organizing panel sessions at SPE’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.
One of the committee’s main initiatives is that of creating SPE’s first conference devoted entirely to R&D ideas and challenges. Scheduled for 26–27 April in San Antonio, Texas, the conference will feature a broad cross-section of oil and gas experts, scientists, and professionals from other industry disciplines who will discuss issues involved in identifying, developing, and securing the world’s future energy supplies. Organizations and companies represented include the International Energy Agency, Inst. Français du Pétrole, BP, Eni, Siemens, the Moscow Inst. of Physics and Technology, Saudi Aramco, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Chevron, Shell, Total, and several universities. Titled “The Third Trillion and Beyond: The R&D Challenges to Meeting Expanding Energy Needs,” the sessions will cover such topics as
- Innovations from outside the upstream oil and gas industry that have potential impact in producing hydrocarbons.
- The global need for people and education as well as strategies for attracting technical talent.
- The potential for deep-reading reservoir measurements as a way to increase recovery factors.
- The unique technical and economic challenges posed by heavy oil and tar sands, oil shales, and unconventional gas.
- The environmental challenges in finding and producing more energy.
- The search for hydrocarbons in deeper and harsher environments, such as the arctic and ultradeep geological structures.
- The major engineering difficulties and potential solutions for unmanned drilling operations and other “ultimate challenges” facing the industry in the years ahead that provide signposts for new research.
The R&D Advisory Committee believes the conference will create alliances across disciplines, explore new territory, foster fresh ideas, and highlight critical R&D needs in an era when governments are cutting research funding and the industry is struggling to boost production. More information about the conference, including registration details, can be found at the meetings calendar on www.spe.org.
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