Since the industrial revolution, human societies have needed oil and gas to run their cities and support their drastic technological innovations. As such, the price of oil and gas often affects the costs of doing business1 around the world, which in turn affects the strength and health of our global economy. Given the importance of oil and gas for stable global functioning, new technological innovations2 have arisen to both improve the means by which gas is produced as well as the environmental impact of its production. As the price of oil and gas drops and new companies in biotechnology and specialty chemicals vie for industry dominance, how can traditional oil and gas companies continue to innovate?
Electronic Laboratory Notebooks to Pave the Way Forward
To maintain their competitiveness and innovative capacities, traditional oil and gas companies should use electronic laboratory notebooks or ELNs to stay ahead of competitors while diversifying and improving the ways in which they obtain their products. Following are two specific areas in which ELNs can be used to keep oil and gas companies at the cutting edge of industry innovation:
3D/4D seismic imaging: Seismic imaging in oilfields is a burgeoning field and increased research efforts into both acquiring and analyzing different channels of data will only improve oil and gas companies’ abilities to identify unexplored or novel environments from which to draw oil. Seismic imaging3 is a method by which sound waves are directed at underground rock structures and the bounced waves help scientists determine areas where crude oil and natural gas might be present. Though this technology has been used for over 80 years, research efforts by oil and gas companies aim to make this technology more precise, sensitive and accurate. ELNs can thus assist in these goals because they are an important mechanism for organizing data in ways that increase the ease of analysis and data interpretation. In this way, ELNs can usher oil and gas companies into an era of better imaging technologies while assisting them in analyzing the vast stores of data generated by these technologies.
Transforming Crude Oil: Crude oil is a composite of chains of hydrocarbons4, which can be broken and combined in a variety of ways. However, crude oil often contains other elements such as sulfur, nitrogen and oxygen, thus one of the most important processes in oil refining is the removal of these chemicals—as well as their disposal. As environmentalist and others become more aware of the toxicity of both unwanted chemicals as well as the chemicals used to refine crude oil, more oil and gas companies should turn to ELNs in order to determine how they might change the chemistry of products used in these products to increase the efficiency of extractions, as well as the amount of pure oil produced in the process.
Overhauling old technology: Many oil and gas companies still use the drilling and tubing methods developed years ago to extract crude oil and refine these extractions. ELNs can assist researchers in comparing novel materials and new alloys to determine both the characteristics of these materials and how they might be used in the oil refinery process. For example, a new ceramic-composite material was recently discovered, capable of withstanding high temperatures and thus provides an economical way to extract U.S. oil-shale5. Additionally, oil and gas companies should also consider new methods and techniques6 for reaching inaccessible deposits of oil and gas and by providing a repository for ideas and experiments, ELNs can improve the likelihood that a great idea becomes a great product.
ELNs have already revolutionized how many industries conduct important research and will similarly impact those oil and gas companies that choose to use them in their research efforts. The above-mentioned areas are only a few examples of areas in which oil and gas companies can use ELNs in order to increase the productivity of their research and development efforts. To determine how the BIOVIA Notebook could help your company, please contact us today.
- “How Oil Prices Impact the U.S. Economy,” 2015, http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/032515/how-oil-prices-impact-us-economy.asp ↩
- Best Technological Innovation Being Used By Top 20 Oil & Gas, Utility Companies,” August 26, 2014, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140826183211-22741080-best-technological-innovation-being-used-by-top-20-oil-gas-utility-companies ↩
- “Seismic Imaging,” last updated May 2015, http://www.chevron.com/deliveringenergy/oil/seismicimaging/ ↩
- “How refining works,” http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/about-bp/what-we-do/making-fuels-and-products/how-refining-works.html ↩
- “A Cheaper Way to Draw Oil from Shale,” April 8, 2009, http://www.technologyreview.com/news/412912/a-cheaper-way-to-draw-oil-from-shale/ ↩
- “2 New Drilling Techniques that Will Shatter US Oil Expectations,” June 27, 2014, http://dailyreckoning.com/2-new-drilling-techniques-that-will-shatter-us-oil-expectations/ ↩