Forbes Names FlexGen an Oilfield Technology to Keep an Eye On

July 20, 2016

As seen in Forbes 7/11/2016

The unconventional oil boom and off-the-chart production increases that occurred between 2008 and 2014 in the U.S. were driven mostly by technology, and chief among these technologies were horizontal drilling (which allowed E&P operators to follow the prevailing formations laterally), hydraulic fracturing (which allowed the operators to increase the permeability and porosity of tighter geologic formations), and the use of proppant (sand and fluid designed to keep the fractured pathways to the wellbore open)."

Companies that are focusing on technological progression are going to have a natural advantage in reducing cost and getting to market, so let's take a look at a few of the technologies that are being leveraged in the oilfield today, and what we might expect in the near future.

Artificial Lift

Artificial Lift refers to the "lifting" of hydrocarbons to the surface ? in the classic case for oil we think of the "nodding donkey" oil pumps. Nowadays, we are making quite a few advancements, like:

  • Electrical Submerged Pumps (ESP) systems with downhole pumps for the longer runs prevalent in todays' oilfield, that also have the flexibility to adapt to the wider variations in production caused by the steeper declines of modern methods
  • Real-time monitoring - the internet of things can alert operators when problems are occurring, or even likely to occur
  • Materials such as carbon fiber sucker rods are more tolerant to the sand and chemicals (and hydrocarbons) that cause mechanical downtime
  • Modern power sources like the FlexGen SSG that can provide a more economical and secure power source to the pump stations.
Additionally, we will see many operators describe "overpressured" situations that imply that we have to spend even less energy in getting those hydrocarbons to the surface.