Oil and Gas

Even with rapid development of renewable sources of energy, fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy mix for decades. To ensure security of supply for all consumers, it is necessary to cost effectively extract more hydrocarbons from existing fields and develop new fields in currently under-exploited areas. The former requires improved technologies for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), the latter technologies to develop complex and difficult fields such as deep-offshore, super-deep reservoirs, remote areas, Arctic, or small hydrocarbon accumulations.

In addition to ensuring future supply, the hydrocarbon industry also needs to contribute to the reduction of the environmental and carbon footprint of the energy industry by using cleaner, more efficient technologies, and facilitating the use of gas instead of coal.

Hydrocarbon exploration and production involves numerous steps, from surface surveys, exploration and appraisal drilling, reservoir development planning, production drilling, production optimization, to surface facilities… All of these steps need to contribute technology improvements.

Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources:

Even with improved technology to access new resources and improve recovery, the supply of conventional hydrocarbon is not inexhaustible. However the earth crust contains very large amounts of “unconventional” hydrocarbons that can help fill the gap until renewable energies can fully take over. Examples are oil sands in Canada, extra-heavy oil in Venezuela, gas, or even oil, from very low permeability rocks such as shale, methane hydrates, or kerogen rich shales. They are all the subject of active RD&D, with Canadian oil sands and gas shales in the USA already booming after having been made economic by recent technological advances.

Transportation and Storage:
A key part of energy security is the ability to reliably transport oil, gas or refined products from the production areas and refining facilities to the consumers. Of particular concern is the vulnerability of the few choke points through which most of the world hydrocarbons go (Bosphorus, straits of Hormuz, Suez…); preventing major interruptions or major environmental disasters requires improvements to pipelines, tankers and LNG carriers, or development of new types of transportation (CNG, hydrates…).
Storage of large amounts of hydrocarbons close to the consumers is also a key part of ensuring security of supply.  Underground storage in salt caverns or reservoir rocks (depleted oil and gas fields, or saline aquifers) provides the bulk of the capacity.

Refining:
Even though refining is a mature technology, there are still significant opportunities for improvements in energy efficiency and environmental footprint. Given the large volume of hydrocarbons refined every day around the world, even small gains can have a large impact. Improvements in continuously matching crude oil input slate with product demand can contribute to reduction of crude oil needs for the same product output.
Technology improvements can help preserve the competitiveness of European refineries, minimizing site closures in the face of Asian and Middle-Eastern competition. Development of new technologies in Europe also positions the European engineering industry to successfully compete for the design of the many new refineries being planned in the Middle East and in developing Asia.



Technology Challenges

OIL & GAS TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGES

Exploration

•    Basin Analysis and Hydrocarbon Potential    
•    Advanced 3D Seismic         
•    Well Data acquisition, processing and interpretation
•    Measurements before and while drilling    
•    Predictions from 3D Seismic, borehole and geological data integration and risks evaluation         

Well Construction
•    Deepwater and ultra-deepwater
•    Mature Fields
•    Trouble Avoidance
•    Green Drilling
•    Smart wells

Production
•    Intelligent completions
•    Real time monitoring networks and decision aid systems
•    Well interventions                                        
•    Reservoir/production management
•    Down-hole processing
•    Management of produced water                                         

Safety and Minimisation of environmental impact
Surface Facilities

•    Tools for hydrodynamic and structural analysis
•    Station keeping systems: mooring and dynamic positioning    
•    Riser Technology
•    Marine Operations: installation, inspection, maintenance and repair, removal and decommissioning
•    Efficient topside systems

Gas treatment and conversion
•    LNG                                                       
•    GTL                                                       
•    Power generation                                         
•    Chemical conversion  

Subsea Infrastructure
•    Flow assurance                                          
•    Intervention, installation and retrieval systems
•    Pumping and processing                          
•    Real time monitoring and control
•    Risk analysis and management