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Digital Oilfield Technology

Posted by on December 3, 2013

There are many new technologies that contribute to the concept digital oilfield.  From the use of 4-D seismic imaging to the “data to desktop” initiatives, digital technology has introduced production data to marketers and traders.  Meaning that it can potentially impact the entire oil and gas industry.

You may have heard the term, “smart fields,” or “e-fields,”  both are labels for the use of digital imaging and information transfer in the oilfield. The concept of using such technologies has resulted in impacting the volume of oil produced, and reducing the amount of intervention times. Making the production process at it’s optimum potential. Shell is a company that operates many “smart fields.”  One project they call “Amberjack”  has had a reduced price of 20% for operating costs, and a 5-10% increase in recovery.  Not to mention, it has as high as 75% reduction in work flow cycle times.  All in all, being able to increase up to 600 barrels of oil per day.

Although there have been many success stories with the use of digital oilfield technologies, there has also been its fair share of set backs, and the concept still has a long way to go in order to be fully functional. Perhaps one of the biggest problems as of yet, is being able to decipher the data, and how to determine what, and how the data is useful once it has been gained through digital imaging.  Not to mention, the problems involved in outsourcing the use of current equipment and maintenance.  Also, the cost of using this equipment is still expensive, and the training involved in using such equipment is costly for companies to invest in, making the use of digital oilfields unavailable to many.

It is believed that new technologies with digital oilfield will continue to mature, and will reduce in cost as it becomes more widely used. Imagine being able to accomplish goals in a much more timely manner in areas that are considered hostile or difficult.  The use of these technologies could save lives, time, and money.  Also, being able to collect data digitally will allow for people to monitor wells from thousands of miles away.  Raising the possibility of centralized equipment and allowing for more efficient management of equipment   Also, by bringing real time data, it will help aid in sales venues by allowing potential buyers the opportunity to have more informed decisions.

Digital Oilfield Technology is a field still developing, with promise of efficiency In the foreseeable future, using digital imaging and data enhancement equipment will become the way in which the industry operates. However, for the time being, it is still unreachable for many due to the investment costs and time involved in training.  As things mature and change, so will the oil industry, making hostile locations, difficult drills, and fragile oil based communities more secure in their safety and output.  Just as people change and grow, so will the oil industry, change is unavoidable and we eagerly wait to see it evolve.


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