American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - 21

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Changing Landscape
Offers New Opportunities
With The Right Tools
As the United States' new presidential administration settles
in, many of us may wonder what is to come for the oil and gas
industry. January, alone, saw President Biden halt the Keystone
XL pipeline and direct the Department of Interior to stop all
leasing for oil or natural gas with a 60-day moratorium on new
oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on federal land.
Moreover, there are plans to tighten restrictions on methane
emissions, standards which have little impact on major companies.
However, according to a recent Associated Press article, Biden
may extend methane regulations to older wells, most of which
belong to independents. Such a scenario probably would entail
uneconomical controls with the potential to shut down many
wells. The new administration also is expected to reinstate the
Obama-era fuel standards and again let California set its emission
standards. For operators, especially the small shops, it means
more regulation, more expense and maybe more headaches in
the coming year.
On the bright side, liberal administrations' efforts to frustrate
U.S. production often help to drive up oil and gas prices. If
companies can afford to pay, and to play, they will have to
employ technology to meet more stringent standards but also to
find efficiencies that change the economics of operating under
the new regime.
In the coming year, I predict a resurgence of conversations
about carbon dioxide sequestration-or what we in the oil field
call enhanced oil recovery. All joking aside, CO2 injection has
been around for years, and with the growing interest in reducing
CO2 emissions, well-located oil fields have an opportunity.
Steve Melzer out of Midland is one of the most prominent
leaders in this space, and the Melzer Consulting website notes
that producing liquids from the area's carbonate formations is
commonly achieved through horizontal drilling or with EOR
techniques that release residual oil. The key is to locate these
residual oil zones and understand the reservoir and oil properties.
Melzer has enjoyed so many years of success in the area that he
has helped organize the annual Midland CO2 Conference, which
first began more than two decades ago.
Meanwhile, big data and data applications in the oil field
look like they will continue to gain momentum. As systems advance, capabilities will go beyond merely alerting technicians
to a breakdown and instead use machine learning systems to
make on-the-fly adjustments, and even repairs, in the field. Although such efficiencies reduce the necessity for human resources,
which carries the potential for eliminating jobs, such technology
also can reduce safety incidents, nonproductive time and change
the overall economics of nearly any operation.
Many companies are digitizing and making available historical
log and scout ticket data designed to be used in supercomputer
simulations in the same space. Until now, much of this data was
packed into boxes that were stored in large warehouses. If you
had the time, you could find a rare diamond among the thousands
of entries. With machine learning, such diamond discoveries
are getting easier and much, much faster.

" All the on-site data sensors and AI
technology will need power. During the next
year, keep an eye out for more innovations
designed to take advantage of stranded gas
that typically would be flared.

"

All the on-site data sensors and AI technology will need
power. During the next year, keep an eye out for more innovations
designed to take advantage of stranded gas that typically would
be flared. With stricter emission regulations re-emerging under
the Biden administration, expect to see the proliferation of
solutions that utilize natural gas at the well site to generate
electricity for uses such as powering remote sensors, charging
stations, networking and digital telecommunications. According
to The World Bank, the United States flares a volume of natural
gas equal to that consumed in Central and South America. Harnessing this gas and converting it to on-site electricity can be a
game-changer for those looking to power advanced data
processing centers in the field.
Our industry is greatly relieved 2020 is behind us. Despite
some uncertainty, we still see an upward trend in commodity
prices and have begun to resume conversations about exploration
and innovation. As we embark on the next year and a new administration, one thing that has not changed is the hard work
and dedication of the operators who continue to do what they
do best despite the pandemic and politics. In the coming year,
be on the lookout for technologies that are consistent with evertightening regulations, as well as those that create actual efficiencies; look for the cost savings after that initial investment
and consider how it will impact your operation during the next
ten years.
❒

JEREMY VISCOMI is a strategic

marketing expert for the oil and
gas industry. Among his many
roles, he serves as the MidContinent regional lead for the
Petroleum Technology Transfer
Council, providing independent
operators with access to emerging technology aimed at reducing
risk and growing profits.
FEBRUARY 2021 21



American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - 5
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Cover3
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Cover4
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