SCOTLAND’S oil and gas companies are facing a new challenge. Industry experts predict the world’s brownfield oil and gas reserves are beginning to dwindle, prompting energy firms to explore new “frontier” areas to maintain current production levels and moving into waters across Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and the Arctic.
Just 40 years ago all production offshore was considered to be in a “frontier” area, undeveloped with room for discovery and research. Today new tools allow us to find deeper and harder to reach fields. Technologies have helped transform resources once thought to be “frontier” to become the norm.
Technology has improved the quantity and quality of information on varying geological structures, extending the reach of surveyors, geologists and explorers and enhancing the likelihood of finding oil and gas in hard to reach places.
It has been a game-changer in drilling and production, literally extending the reach of the sector’s drills, allowing production in harsh environments and remote locations. Flexible and long reach drilling has opened access to the Arctic, deep water in the Gulf of Mexico and Middle Eastern deserts.
Many scientists say production of oil will peak within four decades, some say it is already in decline. But demand is still rising and until there’s a sweeping solution to our energy problems, oil will continue to play a key role. Innovation and instruments combined with discoveries will result in additional supply and contribute directly to strengthening energy security globally.
But this technology still poses challenges in cost and efficiency and must be coupled with both skilled workers and continued research and development.
Companies who thrive in an industry with constantly evolving technology and new frontiers use a collaborative approach, working and partnering with local companies to find solutions. Through continued dialogue we can face the common challenges together and reach new frontiers in the industry.
We must think of the world’s reserves as one collective resource. Scotland must step into new frontier areas and work holistically to prolong its legacy of success.
• Norrie McKay is the chief executive officer of international drilling contractor KCA Deutag