Upstream challenges consistently drive the most incredible technological innovation. From tight shale to ultra-deep water, from horizontal drilling to stranded fields, the international energy industry is as high tech as Silicon Valley.
With increasing demand for natural gas comes greater requirements for the production and delivery of natural gas to the end consumer, be it a power station or a household.
It is a common misconception that it is the electronic and digital industries that are the place to see ultra-high-tech industrial applications. While Silicon Valley is the world’s high-tech mecca, it would be wrong to ignore the incredible technology inherent to the energy industry. Deep water offshore exploration and production utilizes an array of ultra-high-tech systems that survey the ocean floor and the geological layers beneath it. This is then followed by a drilling and production solution that can manage both extremes of temperature and wind – not to mention the immense pressures involved in the extraction of hydrocarbons from thousands of feet below the well spud. All of this has to be done to the highest of engineering and safety standards. The integrated nature of the natural gas industry’s ultra-high-tech solutions stands shoulder to shoulder with the most futuristic industries on the planet.
Natural gas is an illiquid commodity, chemically and financially. It has to be physically dragged across continents. The technology to transport it from wellhead to destination demands the highest of standards, with multiple vacuum sections across thousands of miles.
Liquefied natural gas is the perfect example of the energy industry’s imaginative use of technology. What had previously been either a waste product, or trapped at source due to the impossibility of transportation was suddenly a valuable commodity. By freezing to -260°F at sea level, natural gas could suddenly be transported from the well head to the market – transforming what had previously been a localized dynamic into a truly global industry.