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Last Updated: March 6, 2019
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Petroleum Geoscience
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"The best geologist is the one who has seen the most rocks" is a mantra often repeated to student geoscientists. Sadly, not everyone has the opportunity to undertake field trips, and are therefore not benefitting from the learning opportunities and skills development gained from conducting measurements and observations in the field environment.

The Rationale

PetroEDGE provides technical training to the oil and gas industry through taught courses, workshops and field trips, but recently there has been a significant decrease in the number of requests for field trips, primarily due to a reduction in training budgets. Since virtual reality (VR) modules focusing on facilities and equipment were already available, it was decided to extend this to VR geological field trips, presented in a style consistent with physical field trips.

The Hilbre Islands off the north-west coast of England were chosen as a pilot location. They are well visited by field groups, and of particular interest to oil and gas geoscientists as they comprise the Lower Triassic Ormskirk Sandstone Formation of the Sherwood Sandstone Group, which is producing oil and gas from fields 25 km away in the East Irish Sea Basin.

The VR field trips are intended to create an immersive and realistic environment designed to encourage exploration. Users are supplied with a virtual field guide, accessible at all times, and have access to various tools to make appropriate measurements. Guidance at the start of the field trip encourages the user to make the same observations they would in the field and to develop their fieldwork skills. Areas of particular interest have 'hotspots' providing more detail when selected, such as core or log images, photomicrographs, depositional models, illustrations of sedimentary structures, or annotation of the outcrop. The range of information that can be displayed in the hotspots is vast, and can include video footage, seismic imagery, animations and 3D models.

The Challenges

There are numerous VR field trips available, with different strengths and disadvantages. Many exploit the freedom, scale and accessibility that drone image capture can provide; this has certainly excited me as, having spent years assuring field trip attendees of the features that can be seen at the top of outcrops, we can finally fly up and see for ourselves.

Our initial photogrammetric models did not provide high enough resolution when converted into VR, primarily because drones are unable to fly too near to outcrops and acquire close-up imagery. Many VR field trips have a resolution equal to 3 cm per pixel or lower, but to illustrate meaningful sedimentological features higher resolution is needed, and our aim was to resolve to coarse-grain size. Many months of experimentation with a combination of different methods of image capture and processing techniques achieved the required results, but also highlighted technical problems that would be encountered at future localities. 

For example, the presence of deep shadows confuses the processing software as it relies on an algorithm that identifies similarities in adjacent areas. Occasional shadowed areas can be processed manually, but that process is time consuming and is best avoided whenever possible. Virtual field trips to carbonate outcrops in the Middle East are planned, but filming when the sun is high in bright conditions will produce numerous areas of deep shade contrasting with brightly lit areas, creating extensive processing problems.

On a conventional field trip, it is possible to move behind foliage and boulders to access the outcrop, but these can obstruct drone image capture, so can limit the selection of locations. Also, some of the filming requires access to the outcrops on foot and cannot rely on flying drones into less accessible areas if high-resolution imagery is required.

Lengthy filming and processing of large outcrops can be overcome by using a combination of VR with embedded fly-past and 360- degree videos. As the user is provided with a geographical map, different sections of more extensive outcrops can be imaged and the user is transported to each area when selected on the map.

Integration with Other Training Methods

VR field trips cannot replicate all the skills transfer and learning opportunities provided by physical field trips, but we all need to be pragmatic in a changed financial landscape. Conventional field trips are costly in terms of travel, accommodation, downtime and logistics, so it is better to be able to experience many of the benefits of a field trip, albeit virtually, than to never experience them at all. The skills required to make appropriate observations and conclusions can still be taught, and serve as a reminder that the various data we are using elsewhere relates to real rocks and that interpretations should comply with our understanding of geological processes.

Using VR field trips to illustrate various aspects of training courses can be more incidental, allowing trainees to experience field trips as part of classroom courses or workshops, where travel to each locality is impractical or costly. VR modules can be tailored to include information pertinent to the course, or be integrated with other learning resources. However, it is vital that the VR field trips are valuable in their own right, and not just a new technology to play with. Unnecessary graphics and sound effects have been eliminated to help the user forget they are in VR and focus on the geology.

Flexibility

The information in the hotspots and field guides can easily be tailored to different audiences, including non-geoscientists, engineers, administrative staff and geophysicists. Many of these groups might not normally attend conventional field trips, but do attend classroom courses that can be enriched by examining real rocks. 

The field trip leader can be in the classroom with attendees, or can join them remotely, guiding the trainees in the same way as on a physical field trip. However, the VR field trips are designed as stand-alone modules that can also be accessed by an individual without any need for a leader or instructor. Undertaking a particular module can be used as a refresher for staff, to acquaint themselves with a new environment of deposition, or as part of their personal development programme. VR field trips may also be used to equip students with field skills or to familiarise them with the locations prior to a real field trip. This serves to build their confidence and maximise their time in the field. They can be reviewed many times and help to refresh understanding, or provide easy comparison between different localities.

There is also interest from various organisations anxious to preserve educational outcrops that are threatened by weathering, quarrying or development. Putting these outcrops into VR ensures access for future students and field trippers, and provides consistency for any teaching modules that utilise these localities.

Inclusivity

When planning a physical field trip, it can be difficult to include access to a number of good outcrops that tell a coherent story, while restricting the amount of travelling between localities. With VR field trips, a wide range of geographical locations can be combined to provide a comprehensive understanding, or for comparison of different localities.

The cost of creating VR field trips is mitigated by the unlimited number of users able to access each trip, the absence of travel and logistical costs, and the variety of roles the VR field trips can fulfil.

It must be stressed that VR field trips are not intended to replace physical field trips, but do provide additional features, such as aerial and panoramic views, and the ability to overlay data, interpretation and models onto the outcrop. They also provide inclusive access to less mobile users, or those unable to travel. Inclusivity also extends to non-geoscientists, junior staff and others who may not normally get an opportunity to visit the field. Remote localities, outcrops with restricted accessibility or ones that present particular health and safety risks can still be experienced, providing the filming team can overcome these issues safely.

However, virtual reality field trips should not just be considered a cost-effective, risk-free alternative to real field work. They offer unique opportunities to incorporate activities and features unavailable in the field, and deliver a more integrated and flexible learning resource.

Carol Hopkins is the Geosciences Technical Director for PetroEdge (Oil & Gas Training Provider). Carol's article was first published in GEO ExPro Magazine, the upstream oil and gas industry’s favourite magazine, and a PetroEdge (Oil & Gas Training Provider) industry partner. Visit GEO ExPro at https://www.geoexpro.com


#PetroEdge #virtualfieldtrips #VR #thebestofVR #CarolHopkins
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Leading Countries and Region wise Share in the Oilfield Scale Inhibitor Market

The global oilfield scale inhibitor market was valued at USD 509.4 Million in 2014 and is expected to witness a CAGR of 5.40% between 2015 and 2020. Factors driving the market of oilfield scale inhibitor include increasing demand from the oil and gas industry, wide availability of scale inhibitors, rising demand for biodegradable and environment-compatible scale inhibitors, and so on.

Download PDF Brochure @ https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/pdfdownloadNew.asp?id=268225660

 The oilfield scale inhibitor market is experiencing strong growth and is mainly driven by regions, such as RoW, North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. Considerable amount of investments are made by different market players to serve the end-user applications of scale inhibitors. The global market is segmented into major geographic regions, such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World (RoW). The market has also been segmented on the basis of type. On the basis of type of scale inhibitors, the market is sub-divided into phosphonates, carboxylate/acrylate, sulfonates, and others. 

Carboxylate/acrylic are the most common type of oilfield scale inhibitor

Among the various types of scale inhibitors, the carboxylate/acrylate type holds the largest share in the oilfield scale inhibitor market. This large share is attributed to the increasing usage of this type of scale inhibitors compared to the other types. Carboxylate/acrylate meets the legislation requirement, abiding environmental norms due to the absence of phosphorus. Carboxylate/acrylate scale inhibitors are used in artificial cooling water systems, heat exchangers, and boilers.

RoW, which includes the Middle-East, Africa, and South America, is the most dominant region in the global oilfield scale inhibitor market

The RoW oilfield scale inhibitor market accounted for the largest share of the global oilfield scale inhibitor market, in terms of value, in 2014. This dominance is expected to continue till 2020 due to increased oil and gas activities in this region. The Middle-East, Africa, and South America have abundant proven oil and gas reserves, which will enable the rapid growth of the oilfield scale inhibitor market in these regions. Among the regions in RoW, Africa’s oilfield scale inhibitor market has the highest prospect for growth. Africa has a huge amount of proven oil reserves and is one of the leading oil producing region in the World. But political unrest coupled with lack of proper infrastructures may negatively affect oil and gas activities in this region.

Major players in this market are The Dow Chemical Company (U.S.), BASF SE (Germany), AkzoNobel Oilfield (The Netherlands), Kemira OYJ (Finland), Solvay S.A. (Belgium), Halliburton Company (U.S.), Schlumberger Limited (U.S.), Baker Hughes Incorporated (U.S.), Clariant AG (Switzerland), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (U.S.), Evonik Industries AG (Germany), GE Power & Water Process Technologies (U.S.), Ashland Inc. (U.S.), and Innospec Inc. (U.S.). 

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Scope of the Report:

  • By Type:
    • Phosphonates
    • Carboxylate/Acrylate
    • Sulfonates
    • Others
      • Polymaleic Acid
      • Synthetic Polymeric Acid
      • Polyaspartate
      • Phosphinopolyacrylate
      • Carboxy Methyl Inulin
  • By Region:
    • North America
      • U.S.
      • Canada
      • Mexico
    • Europe
      • Western Europe
      • Eastern Europe
      • Southern Europe
    • Asia-Pacific
      • China
      • India
    • RoW
      • Middle-East
      • Africa
      • South America

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December, 13 2019
Your Weekly Update: 9 - 13 December 2019

Market Watch  

Headline crude prices for the week beginning 9 December 2019 – Brent: US$64/b; WTI: US$59/b

  • The recent adjustment to the OPEC+ supply deal may not have been enough to convince the market completely, but a deal is still better than no deal; with the club coordinating to formalise the existing level of production as cuts, crude prices capped off a week of gains but failed to move higher
  • The new supply quotas include a reduction of 500,000 b/d across OPEC+, though this does not remove additional barrels from the market but rather seals in the current level of production, where Saudi Arabia is overcompensating for non-compliance elsewhere; the challenge now is also to ‘equitably redistribute’ the Saudi burden among other members
  • Saudi Arabia also pledged an additional voluntary cut of 400,000 b/d, provided all OPEC+ members meet their own quotas; compliance did, however, get easier as the club agreed to remove condensate from the crude quotas, benefitting Russia
  • The new supply deal will only stay in place until March 2020 – not quite enough time to resolve the supply glut – but OPEC is also betting that the relentless rise in American crude production will slow down in 2020
  • There is a reason to believe this, given the sharp decline in American drilling activities; but debt-laden US shale drillers might actually do the opposite – accelerate drilling to produce more oil to stave off their creditors
  • There are hints that a US-China trade deal might be coming soon, as China agreed to stop the planned implementation of tariffs on US goods due to kick on December 15; a deal cannot happen soon enough, with reports that Chinese exports to the US fell by 23% y-o-y, flagging up worries about oil demand
  • OPEC’s attempt to expand its influence by courting Brazil to its membership has been rebuffed by Petrobras, with its CEO stating that he is ‘against cartels’
  • In. the US, the EIA reports that the US moved to be a net exporter of crude and petroleum products for the first time since 1973 – aided by growth in crude and refined product exports, with imports largely flat
  • The US active rig count fell below 800 for the first time in 32 months, shedding 5 oil rigs but gaining 2 gas ones for a net loss of 3; the rig count is now down 276 from 1,075 sites working a year ago
  • OPEC’s headline agreement will prop up oil prices, but since details of the new ‘distribution’ of cuts is not yet clear, there will be no appetite for the market to allow crude to break out beyond their range; Brent is expected to stay in the US$64-65/b range, while WTI will stay at the US$59-60/b range


Headlines of the week

Upstream

  • Apache’s closely watched Maka-1 oil well – adjacent to ExxonMobil’s massive Liza field– is going for a third test drill, raising suspicions that Maka-1 could prove to be a bust, dashing hopes of Suriname emulating Guyana’s success
  • Following Murphy Oil and ExxonMobil’s exit from Malaysian upstream, oilfield service provider Petrofac is also mulling an exit, selling its assets – which include a stake in the PM304 field – for US$300 million
  • Libya and Turkey have agreed to a potentially contentious maritime deal demarcating their nautical exclusive economic zones, setting both countries up for a showdown with Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt over exploration rights
  • Repsol’s upstream arm is the first oil major to align its business goals with the Paris climate change accord, aiming to eliminate all net greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations and customers by 2050 – with a change in focus away from output growth towards value generation and clean energy
  • Canadian oil sands producers in Alberta are looking at new ways to export their crude, which would involve removing condensate, light oils and other diluents from the oil sands, and shipping the heavier latter by more cost-effective rail
  • UK independent EnQuest has been awarded 85% of the offshore Block PM409 PSC in Peninsular Malaysia, with Petronas Carigali holding the remaining 15%
  • Fresh from the success of starting up the giant Johan Sverdrup oilfield ahead of schedule, Equinor now estimates that it will be able to raise recoverable reserves from the field from 2.7 billion boe to 3.2 billion boe

Midstream/Downstream

  • PDVSA has reached a deal with Curacao to operate the 335,000 Isla refinery for another year, extending a contract that was set to expire at the end of 2019, but the new arrangement has been described as a  ‘transition’ by Curacao
  • Turkey’s state sovereign wealth fund – the Turkish Wealth Fund – will be investing some US$10 billion to build a new integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in Adana, with construction expected to begin in 2021
  • Sonangol has terminated its contract with Hong Kong-based consortium United Shine to plan to build its new 60,000 b/d Cabinda refinery in Angola but will seek new investors and partners to go ahead with the project

Natural Gas/LNG

  • First gas has begun to flow into Sempra’s Cameron LNG Train 2 in Louisiana, marking the start of the final commissioning stage of the phase that will eventually incorporate 3 trains with 12 million tpa capacity
  • The Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline – connecting Russia and China – has launched, which will deliver up to 38 bcm of natural gas annually for 30 years to CNPC and Chinese customers from the enormous gas fields in eastern Siberia
  • After years spent getting Kitimat LNG in Canada’s BC off the ground, Chevron will be selling its 50% stake in the project – part of a broader retreat from natural gas amid a bleak price outlook – adding new woes to the troubled project
  • Prior to Chevron’s decision to exit Kitimat LNG, Canada’s Energy Regulator has doubled the timeframe of the project’s export license – allowing it to export up to 18 million tpa of LNG (up from 10 million tpa previously) for 40 years
  • ExxonMobil has shelved plans to build an LNG import terminal in Australia’s Victoria state after failing to secure enough buyers for the project
  • Train 1 at the Freeport LNG export terminal in Texas has begun operations, with Train 2 and Train 3 expected next year for a full capacity of 15 mtpa
December, 13 2019
EIA analysis explores India’s projected energy consumption

In the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) International Energy Outlook 2019 (IEO2019), India has the fastest-growing rate of energy consumption globally through 2050. By 2050, EIA projects in the IEO2019 Reference case that India will consume more energy than the United States by the mid-2040s, and its consumption will remain second only to China through 2050. EIA explored three alternative outcomes for India’s energy consumption in an Issue in Focus article released today and a corresponding webinar held at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Long-term energy consumption projections in India are uncertain because of its rapid rate of change magnified by the size of its economy. The Issue in Focus article explores two aspects of uncertainty regarding India’s future energy consumption: economic composition by sector and industrial sector energy intensity. When these assumptions vary, it significantly increases estimates of future energy consumption.

In the IEO2019 Reference case, EIA projects the economy of India to surpass the economies of the European countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United States by the late 2030s to become the second-largest economy in the world, behind only China. In EIA’s analysis, gross domestic product values for countries and regions are expressed in purchasing power parity terms.

The IEO2019 Reference case shows India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growing from $9 trillion in 2018 to $49 trillion in 2050, an average growth rate of more than 5% per year, which is higher than the global average annual growth rate of 3% in the IEO2019 Reference case.

gross domestic product of selected countries and regions

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2019

India’s economic growth will continue to drive India’s growing energy consumption. In the IEO2019 Reference case, India’s total energy consumption increases from 35 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2018 to 120 quadrillion Btu in 2050, growing from a 6% share of the world total to 13%. However, annually, the level of GDP in India has a lower energy consumption than some other countries and regions.

total energy consumption in selected countries and regions

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2019

In the Issue in Focus, three alternative cases explore different assumptions that affect India’s projected energy consumption:

  • Composition case: EIA assumes India’s economy shifts toward further growth in manufacturing, which increases energy consumption.
  • Technology case: EIA assumes India’s industrial technology does not advance as quickly as in the IEO2019 Reference case, resulting in greater energy use.
  • Combination case: EIA combines the assumptions in the Composition and Technology cases.

EIA’s analysis shows that the country's industrial activity has a greater effect on India’s energy consumption than technological improvements. In the IEO2019 Composition and Combination cases, where the assumption is that economic growth is more concentrated in manufacturing, energy use in India grows at a greater rate because those industries have higher energy intensities.

In the IEO2019 Combination case, India’s industrial energy consumption grows to 38 quadrillion Btu more in 2050 than in the Reference case. This difference is equal to a more than 4% increase in 2050 global energy use.

December, 13 2019