Standards unlock upstream innovation
1 May 2005
Technology and innovation drive E&P development, but technological complexity is the enemy of innovation. Establishing standards is essential for managing complexity. Effective industry standards can free geoscientists and engineers to spend more time on innovation, problem solving and improving operational results, writes Steve C Comstock, vice-president of upstream technical computing, ExxonMobil Exploration
The digital oilfield
1 May 2005
With technology infiltrating practically every aspect of our lives it is little wonder that the future oil and gas industry will depend more than ever on innovation in this area to unlock future production and help sustain profitability. Martin Clark writes
LNG: STL ahead of its time
1 April 2005
The award-winning Submerged Turret Loading Buoy system, developed by Norway's APL, is being put to the test on the world's first offshore LNG terminal in the US Gulf of Mexico. Martin Clark reports
Abandoning pump and dump
1 April 2005
AGR Subsea, a Norwegian company, has developed technology that allows for drilling fluid, or mud, used in subsea wells to be returned to the rig without the use of a riser. The technology offers an environmentally friendly alternative to leaving the mud on the seafloor, a common practice known as pump and dump, Anne Feltus reports
To infinity and beyond
1 April 2005
The eerie depths of the Atlantic were the making of the SpiderBOT Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), which achieved international fame for its high-resolution film documentation of the Titanic. Now, this innovative technology used in Hollywood is available to help oil and gas firms in their deep-sea exploration work, writes Martin Clark
Vessel classification: attention to detail
1 March 2005
As the oil and gas industry moves offshore, classification societies are busy tagging the vessels of tomorrow, writes Martin Clark
Canadian values at the international table
1 January 2005
Driven by combinations of their technological know-how, a gambler's nerve and shrinking opportunities on their home turf, Calgary's oil-patch leaders are scouring the world for challenges, writes WJ Simpson
Time to standardise
1 December 2003
Despite ever-greater attention to costs, the oil and gas industry is, according to IBM, spending $14bn this year on IT systems. Such an outlay would suggest that most players have cutting-edge and well integrated systems. With a few exceptions, the reality is rather different, reports Nigel Ash
Breaking the mould
1 December 2003
Schlumberger plans to direct its efforts at maximising recovery from mature fields, with business shifting increasingly to areas such as the Middle East. Technology will make the difference between success and failure. Tom Nicholls talks to Chakib Sbiti, head of the group’s oilfield services division
Conquering the ultra-deep
1 October 2003
Although exploration in the US GoM has extended well beyond the mile-deep mark, technical problems posed by these water depths and the distance from existing infrastructure make development of ultra-deep discoveries complex and costly. Energy companies are pushing technology to the limit and combining capital and human resources to improve the economics of marginal ultra-deep fields. Anne Feltus reports
Cell-spar platform takes shape
1 October 2003
Spar production platforms for deep-water fields have a fairly short history – the first facility was installed in 1996. But, in just seven years, they have evolved through three generations. The first example of the latest variant, the cell spar, is due to start flowing gas in the second quarter of next year, Martin Quinlan writes
Pushing the boundaries
1 October 2003
Offshore exploration and production (E&P) began in the early 1900s. Since then, the definition of deep water has extended as technology has advanced. Until 1998, it was considered to be anything off the continental shelf, at depths greater than 200 metres. Then it moved to 300 metres, but was quickly extended to 500 metres, Nigel Ash writes
Deep water, deep thinking
1 April 2003
The world’s deep-water oil flows through a surprising variety of production facilities, with vessel-based schemes dominating in the Gulf of Guinea and various designs of spars, tension-leg platforms and semi-submersibles employed in the Gulf of Mexico. Engineers have difficult choices to make as they select designs for the next generation of fields in up to 3,000 metres of water, Martin Quinlan writes
Exploring the ocean’s depths
1 April 2003
Advances in oceanographic research should improve exploration success as well as enhance safety and environmental protection. By Bruno Savoye and Myriam Sibuet, Ifremer, and Alain Morash and Jacques Minet, TotalFinaElf, Exploration & Production
CNG’s competitive advantage
1 March 2003
An estimated 110bn cm of gas is flared every year, pumping around 200m t/y of carbon dioxide and 1.5m t/y of methane into the atmosphere. As pressure builds to halt the pollution and waste, the Monetising Stranded Gas Reserves Conference discussed practical and profitable alternatives. Victoria Thomas reports
Seismic slump could slow reserves growth
1 December 2000
These are difficult times for the worldwide seismic business, which faces corporate consolidation and a shake-out of surplus capacity. Without a return to health, the development of new technologies will be slowed and growth in the world’s oil and gas reserves will be threatened, writes Martin Quinlan
The digital workplace: supply chain management via the web
1 December 2000
How digital workplace applications solve the communication problem of multi-location working by offering a “virtual project room” on the web. By Rob Allison, international director, eRoom Technology
Oil and water mix on the net
1 December 2000
Competition yields to collaboration as e-business in the oilpatch gains momentum, writes Satish Pai, president of, a unit of Schlumberger
Drilling for oil from the virtual platform
1 December 2000
The hazards and privations of oil exploration and development are forcing oil companies to minimise the number of staff they have on site, at the same time as competition and rising costs put them under pressure to cut the time taken to develop fields. Adrian Saunders, of the communications company, Concert, says new technology can reduce risks to staff, cut costs and increase efficiency.
Creating the virtual oil company
1 November 2000
The challenge of the future will not be for oil companies to drill deeper wells or shoot better seismic, but to manage knowledge effeciently, argues Frank Inouye, managing director of Deltaic Systems
Conquering the deep water
1 October 2000
The discovery of big oil and gas fields in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico has consolidated this region’s position as one of the most promising energy provinces. But big isn’t always good enough. It takes huge deposits to justify the high costs of drilling and developing deep-water reserves, yet only about one-third of the discoveries so far have exceeded 200m barrels.