The most read stories on JPT’s website in 2019 underscore the technological and operational trends shaping the upstream industry as it enters a new decade. Among the most popular topics: Companies that are leading the industrywide digital transformation, the movement to share more data, the energy transition and its impact on petroleum engineers, and figuring out how to improve efficiency, safety, and productivity to sustain shale operations.
The UK Oil and Gas Authority earlier this year made available to the public some 130 terabytes of well, geophysical, field, and infrastructure data through the launch of the UK Oil and Gas National Data Repository, capturing the imaginations of the upstream industry both in the country and abroad.
BP’s Energy Outlook 2019, released in February, could be reduced to a single question: Is petroleum engineering a good, long-term career choice for a college student?
Pressure pumping equipment has been one of the most neglected areas of technological advancement. This has started to change as innovative developers push out new technologies that are slowly modernizing fracturing fleets, delivering major fuel savings, and creating other tangible efficiencies.
Regulators found that the 2018 blowout that killed five workers on a Patterson-UTI rig in Oklahoma was the product of a slow-moving series of missed signals, misleading testing, and miscalculations that failed to control a natural gas influx.
Analytics, sensors, and robots are changing the way one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies does business. Underpinning all the new technology though is a shift in how BP thinks, and what it means to be a supermajor in the 21st century.
In his first public appearance as CEO of Schlumberger in September, Olivier Le Peuch said the world’s largest oilfield services company will redefine its focus, exiting unprofitable businesses, restructuring some units, and placing more emphasis on returns.
ConocoPhillips in September said it was pulling out of the much-hyped Louisiana Austin Chalk play after the company’s test wells yielded a gusher of water. Meanwhile, an Australian operator flying under the radar continued to pursue the adjacent-but-even-more-challenging Tuscaloosa Marine Shale.
The struggle to overcome the challenge of frac hits has led to a critical dialogue about which pathway the shale sector should take. One idea is to simply put the problem at the center of every major decision.
Two of the top shale producers discuss how moving their directional drillers into their Houston real-time remote operations centers boosted drilling efficiency.
There is every reason to believe that enhanced oil recovery through huff-and-puff injections in US tight-oil plays could be a technical success across large numbers of wells. However, widespread economic success remains uncertain.