Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy – Using Sustainable Technologies

Social IssuesEnvironment

  • Author Vishal Talreja
  • Published February 13, 2024
  • Word count 1,144

It is widely accepted that the oil and gas industry has played a significant role in causing climate change through its emissions. By burning fossil fuels, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, which contribute to global warming and the degradation of the environment. Consequently, there has been a call for increased investments in renewable energy sources along with a shift toward a future based on a sustainable energy supply. Several countries have adopted the Paris Agreement, which is an international treaty aimed at limiting global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This treaty urges countries to take steps to reduce their emissions and to promote the use of green technologies to mitigate global warming. Furthermore, their commitments will also need to be periodically reviewed and updated in accordance with the agreement.

The next step is to discuss how soon we are going to reach a stage when there will no longer be any drilling and we will be fully dependent on renewable sources of energy for all our energy needs. According to some estimates, a 60% reduction in oil use and a 45 % reduction in gas use will be necessary by 2050 if we are to avoid global temperatures increasing over 1.5 degrees Celsius. As a result, the oil and gas industry must undergo a transformation that is profound, and it is imperative that important steps be taken to reduce the number of emissions generated. In places where electrification is gathering momentum, new energy sources (Solar and Wind) are already shaping the electricity supply.

To ensure a smooth transition, we still to rely on oil and gas in the foreseeable future and use currently available technologies. One of the key processes in the oil and gas industry that needs to be considered is the drilling well cycle. Every phase of this process is very costly and not always productive.. It is estimated that the cost of drilling a single oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is about $100 million USD.  

Every phase of oil production requires data acquisition to be successful starting with acquiring seismic data to identify the exact spot to drill. After the drilling (exploratory / appraisal phase), a lot of wireline logs are taken to evaluate the potential hydrocarbon in the well. Several wells are drilled during the development phase of the project, and data is acquired to fine-tune the development of the field. At some point during the production and abandonment phases, it is common to have a heavy intervention service requirement, but data acquisition is still necessary to ensure the integrity of the well.  

More than 15 percent of all energy-related emissions are attributed to oil and gas across the globe, which is equivalent to 5.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

To achieve Net Zero targets, everyone needs to take the necessary steps to achieve them.

While we can't stop drilling wells, we must acquire data in the most sustainable manner. The following are some ways in which we can do this:

  1. Implementation of Transition technologies: There are several transition technologies that can be employed to prevent flaring, to increase efficiency, to reduce waste, and to reduce footprints.
  • Dual flow line reservoir samplers are more efficient than single flow line reservoir samplers, reduce flaring, and are used to leverage automation in these samplers. As a result of the design of these samplers, deep transient testing can be done within a few hours, as opposed to days with a full-well test, which is a more time-consuming process and requires a larger footprint.

  • A multiline cable that can be used for both mechanical slickline and electrical lines. In addition to saving time when switching equipment for different cables, this can reduce space and increase efficiency.

  • Geophysical surveys are essential to know the subsurface conditions and to determine favorable locations for mining and exploration.  It takes a long time to record traditional seismic because multiple levels need to be recorded. However, with Fiber Optic seismic, you can capture seismic across the whole well in a matter of minutes increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact.

  • Increasing efficiency and lowering carbon footprint through automation is also very important for any company. Rather than travel to a platform or rig, remote data acquisition projects can be beneficial because data can be acquired in the office sitting at a desk.

  1. Defining goals, processes, and key performance objectives, and incentivizing them:
  • An organization that has defined goals, workflows, and processes is more likely to be successful and efficient. To measure performance, objectives, and incentives to achieve these goals are defined, a very effective technique that has been used for many years.

  • Organizations should also keep track of their progress and adjust the goals or processes as needed. Regular feedback and reviews should be conducted to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives. Finally, providing rewards for successful completion can help to motivate employees.

  • Regular meetings should be held to discuss progress and provide feedback. Employees should be encouraged to voice their opinions and ideas. Finally, creating a culture of open communication and collaboration is essential for successful project outcomes.

  1. A well-defined organizational structure and responsibilities:
  • Organizations must ensure they have a clearly defined support structure with clear responsibilities. Lack of adequate support structures results in inefficiency, loss of focus, and failure to achieve objectives. Additionally, every organization should have a sustainability cell dedicated to setting specific goals, measuring performance, and maintaining sustainability. The sustainability cell should also develop strategies to ensure that these goals are met. It should also provide regular reports to the organization's management and other stakeholders. Finally, the sustainability cell should review and adjust strategies as needed to ensure the organization remains sustainable.

Finally, it is important to consider that the Oil and Gas industry is shrinking, as the world moves towards alternative energy sources as a means of supplying energy. I think it is wonderful to see that everyone is concerned about the environment and striving to achieve net zero energy. It does not mean, however, that drilling will cease overnight. Although wells will be drilled, organizations need to focus on utilizing technology to be more sustainable. While transitions are always challenging, they can be smooth, efficient, and achievable with clear goals and policies.

Additionally, it is important to remember that data acquisition is vital at every stage of the well's lifecycle, and luckily, there are already methods which are available to acquire data sustainably.Utilizing transition technologies, automating processes, having extra compensation for performance-driven cells is not just a financial commitment, it is also a moral commitment with clear goals, processes, objectives and workflows. It will all be worth it in the end for the sake of future generations while at the same time this approach supports Oil and Gas industry in the years of transition.

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