You may think of rough-necks when you think of the natural gas and oil industry, but the industry is becoming more and more high-tech every day. The incredible women and men of our industry – the engineers, analysts, scientists, geologists and more – are using their brainpower to create cutting-edge technologies that make energy development more precise, efficient and safer than ever before.
- Maintaining Safe Operations
It all begins with data. We use the power of supercomputers to quickly analyze vast amounts of data and produce comprehensive, high-definition seismic images . These 3-D images help scientists and geologists accurately predict if and how much natural gas or oil lies beneath the earth’s surface. From there, they can determine if drilling a well could lead to a discovery.
Once operators establish a well, they rely heavily on the latest technologies to ensure they’re running as safely and efficiently as possible. Advanced fiber-optic cables installed in pipes can report on sounds, movement and temperature. Information like this is fed to digital oilfields – control centers that continuously analyze information from wells to help predict or prevent issues in real time.
Maintaining Safe Operations
Properly maintaining drilling locations, and the pipelines that transport natural gas and oil, is vital to the safety of our workers and protection of the environment. Drones and robots allow easier access to difficult or remote operational areas to monitor. Partnering with their civilian counterparts, they can help inspect equipment, collect large volumes of high-quality data, and provide information on the status of a components, and their surrounding areas, with less risk to workers.
In addition to working smarter, innovations have adapted traditional technologies, making them more environmentally friendly. Horizontal drilling allows companies to complete the work of 20, or more, wells with just one, thus reducing their surface footprint by 90 percent. And though the process requires water, operators have found ways to accommodate their needs by using recycled or brackish water. Finally, through modified procedures and improved leak detection technologies, the natural gas and oil industry has dramatically reduced methane emissions in operations, even as production has grown.
Thanks to the use of innovative technologies and American know-how, the natural gas and oil industry has turned the U.S. into the world’s largest natural gas producer, even as U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to 25-year lows. And the more energy we’ve produced, the lower costs have fallen for consumers and for businesses alike. In fact, American consumers spent less on energy in 2016 than ever before, and our abundant supply of natural gas has proven to be a boon for American manufacturing.