According to a report by ProPublica, pipeline accidents have killed more than 500 people, injured over 4,000 and cost the U.S. nearly $7 billion in property damages since 1986. Though this might seem relatively insignificant compared to the 32,675 deaths due to road accidents in 2014 alone, critics argue that oil and gas pipelines can and should be safer, an initiative that begins with improving our country’s aging pipelines or more immediately, the type of coatings the oil and gas industry uses to protect them.

Last month saw oil prices dip below the $30 per barrel threshold for the first time in 10 years. If we still had any doubts about the current volatility in the global oil market, I imagine they’re long gone by now. In fact, many people claim that the situation is the worst we’ve seen in 45 years. And if plummeting prices weren’t enough to worry about, the oil industry will soon have to contend with the Great Crew Change, when approximately half of its workforce will be entering retirement age—and taking large swaths of institutional knowledge with them. Despite the difficulties facing the industry, however, the petrochemical sector still remains a source of potential growth. While fracking persists as a point of contention among environmental advocacy groups in the United States, shale gas development has brought two benefits to the industry. First, it offers another source of energy. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly in today’s economic climate, it provides key raw materials to make plastics and other products. These two things are driving petrochemical companies to expand their existing plants in anticipation of this growing sector.

“Big data” generally refers to very large and complicated data sets that often require special analysis techniques and tools. In many industries, the advent of big data has been recent and dramatic; however, oil and gas companies have “dealt with large quantities of data to make technical decisions…for many years [by investing in] seismic software, visualization tools and other digital technologies.” Still, much has been said about the diminished shape of the oil and gas industry, currently in the “deepest downturn” since the 1990s, which has resulted in lost jobs for more than 200,000 workers and a decrease in the manufacture of drilling and production equipment. Where and how can oil and gas companies stem the outflow of profit?

The current volatility in the oil and gas market has left companies scrambling for ways to maintain their annual earnings and profit margins. Unfortunately, the challenges they’re facing don’t appear to be leaving anytime soon. Thanks to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC) maintaining record-high production to compete with the U.S. shale boom, the price of crude oil has hit corresponding record lows. Consumers may be rejoicing over having to pay less for gasoline, but petroleum firms must make some tough decisions to remain competitive.

The current volatility of the petrochemical market has put oil and gas firms in a tough position. With the marketplace in a constant state of flux, companies must strive to find ways to retain their competitive advantage. Unfortunately, the margin for error is extremely narrow. One small mistake could result […]

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as the technique is more commonly called, transformed the United States oil and gas industry when its usage gained popularity in the early 2000s. Widespread adoption of fracking drove oil production to levels not seen since the 1980s and allowed the U.S. to compete with Saudi […]

Times are tough for the petrochemical industry. The sharp decline in oil prices over the past year has left the current market volatile and uncertain. It’s led to cutbacks in investment and employment, with further cuts possibly on the way. Petrochemical companies aren’t taking the news lying down, though. Even […]

The oil and gas industry faces a major issue in the near future. No, I’m not talking about market volatility or plummeting crude oil prices. Sure, those are still concerns in the current uncertain environment, but what I’m referencing is something that’s gone overlooked in recent years. What is it? […]