Breaking Barriers in Oil, Gas & Energy

An industry at the forefront of technology such as ours must always be breaking barriers.
This article appeared in Vol. 17, No. 4 - 2020


Breaking Barriers in Oil, Gas & Energy

© David Mark from Pixabay. An industry at the forefront of technology such as ours must always be breaking barriers. In this edition of GEO ExPro (Vol. 17, No.4) you can read a number of examples of innovations and technological breakthroughs in the oil and gas industry.

One of the focuses of this issue is ‘Using the Cloud’, a topic which by definition is about breaking barriers; moving into the theoretical ether and finding ever more uses for communal space and shared software, all driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Although some in the industry consider that we were slow to adopt the digital transition, we now seem to have well and truly jumped onto that fast-moving super-highway and are beginning to open up to the possibilities offered through such things as digital twins, undertaking pre-stack analysis on large multiclient 3D datasets, and accessing the vast quantity of data available to enable accurate real-time monitoring; all topics discussed within this edition of the magazine.

Less obvious innovations have also been occurring in the industry, particularly in the realms of communication. I have now participated in a number of virtual seminars, conferences and webinars and found them interesting experiences. Having no real idea as to how many people are out there listening is daunting for a presenter, but at the same time, not having to make eye contact with the audience is strangely liberating. As an attendee, it is good to be able to dip in and out of talks as interest and other commitments dictate, and particularly useful to be able to listen to a presentation or discussion at a time which suits you, from the comfort of an armchair. One of the major advantages of the online conference is that because there are no traveling costs, they are accessible to many more people than usual and from a wider range of countries, so the educational aspects are being spread much more widely than usual. Of course, the all-important networking part of a meeting is missing, although there have been some very valiant efforts to simulate that aspect of a conference online.

In this issue we bring you another first: an article that captures a fascinating social media discussion on a seismic interpretation conundrum, which collates and discusses comments made by people from across the globe with a range of backgrounds and experience. A fine example of geoscience being both analytical and innovative.


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We live in troubling times. After the hope of the 2010 ‘Arab Spring’ in Tunisia, we have witnessed the toppling of Ghaddafi in Libya, the overthrow of two governments in Egypt, full scale civil war in Syria and Iraq looks increasingly unstable as fundamentalist fighters of IS spread their hold on the oil-rich regions of northern Iraq and Kurdistan. And Gaza and Israel continue their uneven trade in missiles. Despite this, the search for hydrocarbons goes on. Worries about energy security and conflict always bring gains and losses to someone.