Can Technology be the Ultimate Lever to Leverage the Future of Oil?

1. Digitization, intelligentization and intensification have become the important direction of industry technical innovation. In the future, big data may be the big oil field.

2. The innovation of technology should grasp "high and low", high technology can also be low cost.

3. The lower oil prices need to balance spending cuts and investment in research and development.

Every leap in the history of the world's oil industry has been driven by technological revolutions, especially disruptive technologies. Although oil prices have been volatile for the past three years, oil companies have not cut back on research and development in tandem, and they are more willing to use technological innovations to increase their effectiveness.

At this year's oil conference exhibition, total display of multi-functional robots, the virtual reality technology of BP, etc., attracted many visitors to stop. It also reflects that digitalization, intellectualization and intensification have become the important direction of technological innovation of oil companies. In the future, big data may be the big oil field.

Specifically, from this exhibition, we can see that artificial intelligence, automatic downhole tools and advanced data analysis have become hot spots for international oil companies. The research has shown that since the fall in oil prices, upstream land engineering and digital r&d investment have not decreased. In particular, robots, drones and mobile Internet investment have doubled or tripled.

Is high technology necessarily high cost? Experts at the meeting pointed out, one of the lessons of the "shale revolution" in North America is that high technology can also be low-cost. For industry experts, the north American "shale revolution" actually contains a dual revolution. The first revolution is a revolution in production, which breaks through traditional oil and gas geological theories and exploration and development methods. This uses horizontal well and segmented fracturing technology to liberate shale oil and gas, and has been "the main force" in the global oil and gas supply echelon. The second revolution was a cost revolution, with continued improvements in the cost structure and distribution of earnings, far from being "wiped out" by low oil prices. For example, the length of the horizontal section has increased from 1902 in 2013 to 5,652 meters in 2016. The cost of the fracturing and drilling are reduced by 20 to 30 percent, and a 35 to 70 percent increase in well profits from short horizontal segments.

If technological innovation is the blood that keeps winning, research and development is the heart that keeps the blood circulating. Exxon said its in-house r&d team has increased drilling efficiency by more than 80 percent over the past 10 years, with a cumulative savings of $2 billion and significant benefits for research and development. Under low oil prices, oil companies need to balance spending cuts and investment in research and development.

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