Grand Challenges Facing the E&P Industry

To address the more uncertain environment of the 2020s and beyond, SPE have updated the grand challenges put forth a decade ago1Read the full JPT article here.

\We are developing white papers for each, defining potential complications and impact, as well as areas for future research. Our aim is to help the industry focus its R&D and technology efforts on the highest-value activities for both our industry and society.

1.     Improved Recovery from Tight/Shale Resources 

Oil and natural gas demand are projected to continue to rise through 2050. Cost-effective strategies for production and recovery, aimed at having minimal environmental footprints, come with many unique challenges. 

2.     Net-Zero Operations

Emission reduction is one of the most significant issues faced by oil and gas operations. Enhanced detection methods, infrastructure upgrades, rethinking energy consumption, implementing renewable energy and low-carbon solutions will all play an important role in the future. 

3.     Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage 

The technological pathways to abate emissions may not be easy. For solutions such as post-combustion, pre-combustion and direct air capture to succeed at scale, we will require new business models and policies.

4.     Geothermal Energy

There are synergies between the production of hydrocarbons and production of hot water for energy, as well as many opportunities to apply the lessons learned in hydraulic fracturing in shale and tight oil and gas resources to geothermal systems.

5.     Digital Transformation

The rapid advance of digital technologies offers unique opportunities to fundamentally evolve the cost model of the oil and gas industry. This comes with an array of new technical, operational and business challenges.

Added to these is the increasingly important need for education and advocacy during a time of unprecedented change.  Read more about the R&D Technical Section and the Workshop defining the grand challenges.

1In 2011, SPE identified these Grand Challenges for the industry globally:

Higher Resolution Subsurface Imaging (PDF)

Challenges in Reusing Produced Water

In-Situ Molecular Manipulation

Increasing Hydrocarbon Recovery Factors

Carbon Capture and Sequestration