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Visualization Techniques Enhance Training, Operations, and Safety

Source: Rigzone | 28 July 2014

The latest in 3D animation and imagery are allowing oil and gas companies to enhance worker training and demonstrate technical concepts and techniques. FuelFX, a media and software company almost exclusively focused on the oil and gas industry, works with major operators, oilfield service companies and large manufacturers.

Describing the company as a broker of knowledge, FuelFX Chief Executive Officer Oliver Diaz said that cutting-edge 3D and visualization technology can allow companies to be more efficient in training workers, improving efficiency and operational safety. Founded 7 years ago, the company grew rapidly following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, when FuelFX worked with BP and other members of the Unified Command by producing daily visualizations to update the Unified Command team, the White House, and the public on the efforts, operational plans, and challenges involved in the Deepwater Horizon response.

3D imaging is not new, but this application represents a step change in communications. The need for new visualization tools stems from the fact that, most of the time, the magic in the oil and gas industry happens with things that can not be seen, or that are 5,000 ft underground, or encased in steel or in high-pressure/high-temperature environments, Diaz said.

Farmer’s Invention Could Make Installing Tank Liners Easier, More Environmentally Friendly

Source: Eagle Ford Texas | 21 July 2014

From out of a Grant County, North Dakota dairy farm comes a tireless inventor and entrepreneur who is affecting the world’s oil industry.

Seymour Volk’s family and friends say he is always thinking, always looking for a better way to do things. “No means go,” is an expression you’ll hear a lot around Seymour Volk. “Tell him something can’t be done and he’ll prove you wrong,” said his wife, Lawana Volk.

Now, some people are saying Volk’s latest invention, the Safety Clamp, makes it easier and more environmentally friendly for oil companies to install tank liners, the massive plastic tarps inside large-volume above-ground open storage tanks. Because they are easy to handle and install, Volk’s Safety Clamps are less likely to be dropped on workers below the tank rim than the traditional models now used in the oil field. Their orange powder coating helps make sure they don’t get lost to rust away in the grass near a tank. Because they are less likely to be dropped, they are also less likely to cause punctures in the plastic liners, which, in turn, helps prevent fluid loss and can help protect the environment. Because workers can install them in seconds around the rim of a tank, oil companies are saving money using his invention.

New Process Cheaply Cleans Produced Water

Source: MIT Technology Review | 14 July 2014

In a nondescript site in Midland, Texas, an inexpensive new process is cleaning up some of the most contaminated water around—the extremely salty stuff that comes up with oil at wells.

This water treatment plant in Midland, Texas, will soon treat 500,000 gallons of oilfield waste water daily.

By the end of next month, the technology is expected to be chugging 500,000 gallons per day, furnishing water that’s sufficiently clean to use in hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas production.

The technology may provide a way to deal with the increasing amounts of contaminated water the fossil fuel industry is generating as it pursues more and more difficult-to-reach deposits. Many oil formations can produce as much as 5 bbl of contaminated water for every 1 bbl of oil. And the volume of this produced water is rising as the industry pumps water into nearly depleted wells to enhance oil recovery.

BSEE Director Says Collaboration Needed Offshore

Source: Fuel Fix | 14 July 2014

One of the biggest obstacles in boosting the safety of offshore drilling is making sure a massive web of contractors and oil companies are working collaboratively to prevent accidents, a top federal regulator says.


Offshore, “you have an operator and multiple contractors and subcontractors,” noted Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Brian Salerno in an interview with Platts Energy Week. “The challenge, really, is to get all of them to work together seamlessly and safely.”

Salerno, a former vice admiral in the Coast Guard, noted the distinction between that complex offshore oil and gas hierarchy and a streamlined military operation, with more clearly defined roles and fewer side players.

API Launches Oil and Gas Workforce Website

Source: Offshore Energy Today | 16 June 2014

The American Petroleum Institute (API) officially launched–www.oilgasworkforce.com–a new website that provides information to anyone interested in careers, training, and certifications in the oil and natural gas industry.

“The website is another tool building on API’s worldwide leadership in standards, training, and certification to strengthen the next generation of oil and natural gas development and the industry workforce,” said John Modine, API vice president of Global Industry Services in a conference call with reporters. “Our goal is to create a resource to help meet our nation’s ever-growing need for a workforce that can help us realize our energy potential for the future.”

A recent report by IHS predicts an additional 1.3 million new career opportunities in the oil and natural gas industry by 2030, and a 2013 Energy Information Administration study estimates that job growth has been 40 times higher in the oil and natural gas industry compared to the economy as a whole.

As North American Flaring Rises, Proposed Gas Conversion Projects Double

Source: RedOrbit | 16 June 2014

Planned projects to convert natural gas into fuels, intermediate chemicals, and fertilizers have doubled in just 12 months, according to presentations from the Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) North America conference held in Houston.

Energy researcher Zeus Intelligence, a unit of Hart Energy, surveyed 24 gas-conversion projects in the United States and Canada in 2013. This year, Zeus identified 47 projects. Four developed by Nucor, Oberon, Primus Energy, and Celanese are already producing hot-briquetted iron, dimethyl ether, gasoline, and methanol, respectively.

“Flaring is a symptom of a market ballooning with natural gas,” said Chris Cothran, lead gas-conversion analyst at Zeus Intelligence. “We’re seeing the benefits of cheap natural gas across many industries.

“Effective June 1, North Dakota’s Industrial Commission changed its regulations,” he noted. Now oil producers must submit plans to capture gas when filing permits for new oil wells. Due to limited takeaway infrastructure, roughly 270 MMcf of associated gas is flared daily in North Dakota, mostly from oil wells in the Bakken shale. Regulators want producers to fund more pipelines or process plants to convert gas into marketable products.

Flares already in operation are attracting greater scrutiny, too. On 1 July, North Dakota’s Industrial Commission is expected to announce new flaring rules. The state’s goal is to reduce flare gas from roughly 25% of total production to less than 10% by 2020.

“Gas-conversion technologists see an opportunity,” Cothran said. “Technologists are working to offer mobile solutions to convert gas at the wellhead into liquid products that can be shipped to market.” He said at least four joint ventures have been announced in recent weeks.

Texas Railroad Commission Holds Water Conservation and Recycling Symposium

Source: Oil and Gas Update | 28 May 2014

Water is a hot topic these days—drought, water rights, earthquakes, and saltwater disposal wells. On 22 May, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) facilitated presentations by representatives from the oil and gas industry about water conservation and recycling—a hot topic for Commissioner Christi Craddick. Fifteen representatives from companies such as AES Water Solutions, Pioneer Natural Resources, Apache, Halliburton, Laredo Petroleum, Baker Hughes, and Omni Water Solutions relayed in 5 minutes or less each of their company’s water recycling goals, capabilities, and technologies. Each representative commended the RRC for having recently updated the agency’s water recycling rules last year to streamline the permitting of water recycling projects and to create more flexibility for multilease/multioperator recycling activities, thus making water recycling projects cost-effective and encouraging more reuse of produced water.

DNV GL Launches JIP To Standardize Subsea Documentation

Source: Offshore | 27 May 2014

DNV GL has launched a joint industry project (JIP) to standardize subsea documentation.

A typical subsea project can involve more than 10,000 documents (with up to 80,000 in a complex project) over a life cycle of 30 years. To develop, maintain, and verify the quality, security, accuracy, and availability of documentation, operators, contractors, and suppliers will often spend millions of dollars on document management, technical review, and information management systems.

“The aim of this broad industry collaboration initiated by DNV GL and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association is to develop a standardized set of subsea-system documents for designing, approving, manufacturing, verifying, operating, and maintaining equipment,” explained Jarl S. Magnusson, the JIP project manager for DNV GL Oil & Gas.

De-Risking Gulf of Mexico Operations and Maintenance Practices

Source: 23 May 2014 | OE

Maintenance, like safety, is everyone’s business. Even a cursory examination of successful energy companies reveals a strong commitment to a maintenance and safety hierarchy that goes from employees in the field all the way to the executive offices. Strong safety and maintenance cultures go hand-in-hand because poorly maintained assets can be the root cause of accidents and collateral damage to personnel and assets.

Beginning at the field, platform deck, or plant floor level, a company’s skilled workers may perfom complete end-to-end maintenance, or management may outsource operations and maintenance activities to technical service providers. On the Gulf Coast, asset owners and operators routinely outsource advanced maintenance and repairs to technical service providers who specialize in one or more aspects of the maintenance “ladder” that extends from construction, hookup, and commissioning to operations, shutdowns, and turnarounds. Today, even relocation and decommissioning activities are handled by highly specialized firms with the skills, equipment, and processes in place to manage complex projects.

How Safety Leaders Can Start the Sustainability Discussion

Source: Behavioral Science Technology | 6 May 2014

Over the past 30 years, HSE leaders have guided their organizations through a remarkable transformation. What was once a practice focused largely on regulatory compliance and crisis response has evolved into a strategic function that now helps guide operational excellence. Today, many organizations not only enjoy record low injury rates and greater safety literacy across employees at every level, they also have learned to “bake” safety into work practices and systems and detect changes in risk before they create events in a way that protects the workforce and the community while also delivering greater profitability. At the highest levels, HSE leaders have become experts at change.

As business becomes more interconnected, global environmental and social issues will increasingly affect an organization’s ability to operate. Left unchecked, these issues can pose an existential threat to the enterprise unlike anything traditional management models have accounted for. Whether they recognize it or not, organizations are in need of expertise that can guide the development of sustainability practice and strategy. HSE leaders play a special role in guiding that discussion as they have done while helping to transform safety from a priority into a core value for many leading organizations.


Shale Plays Create Opportunities, Challenges for Automation

Source: Automation World | 23 April 2014

Crude oil production in North America continues to rise. 2013 saw an increase of 1 million B/D in the United States, and production this year is expected to hit close to 9 million B/D, according to John Royall, president and CEO of Gulf Publishing.

Royall, giving an opening presentation at the Siemens Oil & Gas Innovations Conference in Houston, gave an overview of the North American and worldwide oil and gas scene, also outlining various factors in the industry and how they affect automation opportunities.

For example, industry activity has traditionally been measured by the number of rigs, but, for the first time, analysts no longer think rig count is the most important thing to look at, Royall said. That’s because the rig count on average is going down, yet footage drilled is on the rise. “With higher-efficiency rigs, we’re drilling much more footage with fewer rigs,” he said. “We’ll reach close to 400 million ft drilled in 2014.”

Column: Shale Industry Can Benefit From Human Factors

Source: Shale Energy Insider | 9 April 2014

Shale production is a major player in the quest for energy independence. The merits of shale production are irrefutable, and the positive impacts are great. While the benefits are well known, like in other process control industries, there are those who promote fear through a lack of knowledge about this viable form of energy. When there is a lack of knowledge about a topic—whether it is energy production or any other meaningful concern—the stage may be set for undesired consequences.