GEO ExPro

The Bigger Picture

This article appeared in Vol. 11, No. 3 - 2014

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Drilling in the Bakken in North Dakota; who foresaw the effect of the shale gale on the markets? (Image courtesy of David McNeese)

GEO ExPro Magazine is 10 years old. And what better way to celebrate than with an edition full of – well, all the usual variety of articles you enjoy, designed to entertain, excite and educate.

We have a stimulating and thought-provoking piece on Ukraine, looking at just how much the supply of oil and gas to Europe is embroiled in the troubling situation there. We look back at the little-known history of the onshore UK oil industry, and forward to ways in which the use of water in the exploitation of unconventional resources can be controlled and monitored, and at some of the methods to assess these resources. Technology continues to advance, and new and more efficient techniques for identifying hidden reserves, such as induced polarisation and full-tensor gravity gradiometry, are explained. Knowledge of the mechanisms of rock fracturing is important, because the open fractures they provide are essential for fluid flow in reservoirs, so in our GEO Education series we take a fresh look at this topic.

And for a reminder of just how amazing and awesome our planet is, we take a trek up Rinjani, one of the highest volcanoes in Indonesia, to look down into the caldera at its crater lake and cinder cone and remember that the geological processes that created the world around us still continue.

The rationale behind this magazine has always been to educate people in and around the hydrocarbon industry about what is going on beyond their own sphere. I recently read Gregory Zuckerman’s ‘The Frackers’ – reviewed on page 102 – a fascinating account of the rise and sometimes fall of the people and companies who made the shale energy revolution in the US. One of the most compelling aspects in this book is the realisation that no one at the time seemed to understand just what an effect a sudden glut of gas could have on their business, their country or the world market. All heads were down, beavering away at the individual challenges; no one seemed to look up and around and pause to think beyond the here and now.

This account teaches us all an important lesson: never lose sight of the bigger picture. As both Ukraine and the shale gas story show us, the hydrocarbon industry is a key part of the progress, politics and future of the whole world. It is our responsibility as citizens of that world to educate ourselves as much as possible, not just about what goes on in our own discipline, but about the ways in which what we do ripple throughout the industry and beyond, to affect the whole planet and everyone on it.

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