The 21st century has seen more innovation than ever before.
And the oil and gas industry has been at the forefront of this technological innovation.
New oil and gas discoveries have been found in harsh environments everywhere — the Arctic, ultra-deep waters and even shale. To get it all out, the oil and gas industry has had to become one of the most technologically advanced in the world.
And the need for high powered tech keeps growing. It’s more important than ever to maximise field recovery. Maturing basins and hard to drill frontiers add to this issue.
Sure, oil and gas exploration has always been a high risk game. But at the same time, the reward from success can be huge.
The oil and gas business has never been as profitable as it is now. Globally, it invests over US$1 trillion per year to develop tech that can explore untapped resources.
Because of this tech, exploration risk is the lowest it’s ever been. Success has compounded because of technological innovation.
But new technology didn’t just help the development of the US shale oil story. Tech was what made the energy revolution possible in the first place.
Many thought there was oil at Spindletop Hill, Texas, in the 19th century. However, drillers had to drill through ‘salt’ to get to the oil. This meant that there were hundreds of feet of sand. Because of this, wells collapsed and hopes fell at Spindletop. .
At least until the Hamill brothers came to Spindletop, along with their state of the art drilling rig. The Hamill brothers had a reputation for being innovative. They helped find the first Texan oil field, which produced 1,450 barrels of oil in 1886.
The Hamill brothers quickly got stuck into drilling. Like previous wells, they soon hit sand. Back then, drillers used water to hold up the well walls. But at Spindletop, the sand was too fine…and water was useless.
The Hamill brothers had to improvise, using only material they had on hand — water, dirt and cows. They struck on the idea of using mud instead of water. And they created it by getting the cattle to stomp around in a nearby water pit.
As the story goes, the mud worked, oil was struck, and Spindletop became the biggest ‘gusher’ that the world has ever seen. [Read more →]