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Friday, April 21, 2017

Oil Producers Relying More on Technology to Deal With Changing Landscape

From Bloomberg:
The nodding donkey was invented nearly a century ago, and it’s still hard at work in the oil patch, virtually unchanged, pumping oil out of the ground. There’s been a recent innovation, though: Algorithms adjust the extraction flow based on computer monitoring hundreds of feet below. 
Finally. “Onshore North America used to be a market where state-of-the-art technology went to be humiliated,” said Tom Curran, an energy analyst at FBR Capital Markets & Co. “You’ve had a clear shift occur where onshore North America for the first time in recent history has become a technology play.” 
The worst crude-market crash in a generation propelled energy companies into the digital world. They had already pretty much tested their physical limits with brute strength, ramping up injections of sand to tease more oil out of subterranean pockets and drilling wells longer and longer. Now they’re using DNA sequencing to track crude molecules and mapping buried streams with imaging software. Robots are fitting pipes together. Roughnecks consult mobile apps for drilling-direction advice. Oilfield services providers find themselves in a new arms race, led by giant Schlumberger Ltd., which recently opened an office on Sand Hill Road in the heart of Silicon Valley.
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