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Petroleum Review - January 2012

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Perspective – Between a rock and a hard place
William Lowery

Top 10 risks for oil and gas
Managing risk has always been a key challenge for the oil and gas industry. Identifying and effectively managing those risks which have the greatest potential impact is the key to success. That is why Ernst & Young, in conjunction with Oxford Analytica, annually works with a panel of industry experts to identify the top risks across the oil and gas sector. In this article, we look at the 2011 output of that process and analyse the top 10 industry risks. In the next edition of Petroleum Review, we will take a look at the top 10 industry opportunities.

Leading the energy mix revolution
Europe’s exposure to expensive imports means cheap renewables will be needed to put competitive price pressure on fossil fuel suppliers. Crispian McCredie and Ruud Weijermars, Alboran Energy Strategy Consultants, highlight the hurdles for Europe in keeping its lead in the global energy transition.

Digital oil fields – service and security
Major service providers like Halliburton now offer real-time solutions under licence that were once proprietary, and see big potential in shale developments. Here, Kongsberg reflects on key digital oil field trends, while PA Consulting advises on the thorny issue of cyber-security, writes Brian Davis.

Opening up the Arctic
The Arctic is a unique environment, posing oil and gas E&P challenges so tough that few thought the sustained development of its hydrocarbon resources was possible until recently. However, the E&P industry is nothing if not tenacious, and advances in offshore technology – both above and below the surface – have opened the door in terms of what is possible for the eventual exploitation of the northern seas. Mark Thomas reports.

Data standards and the digital oil field
The concept of the digital oil field (DOF) has advanced tremendously over the last decade, yet significant challenges remain. DOFs gather, exchange and ultimately deliver information in real-time in order to support E&P business decisions. In this regard, a DOF is only as effective as the information management approach used to connect people with business intelligence, writes Gordon Cope.

Driving drilling developments
Visiongain forecasts significant spending in the oil and gas drilling sector going forwards as oil and gas companies target new resources at greater depths and in ever more challenging environments.

Gas – fuel of the future in the UK?
The UK implications of a future reliant on gas to ensure energy security, affordable prices and emissions reductions were the topic of a recent Energy Institute conference held in November in London.

Flexibility trumps all in a shifting biofuels industry

Biodiesel, ethanol, renewable diesel, butanol, bio-crude…thanks to billions in investment, aggressive government mandates, volatile oil prices and a widespread objective to lessen oil reliance, biofuels have the capacity to replace about 4.3% of oil consumed today. In fact, current total biofuels capacity stands at approximately 44.6bn gallons. However, after enjoying 20% annual growth since 2005, the biofuels industry is dramatically and significantly evolving, writes Andrew Soare, Analyst, Lux Research.

Realise your earning potential
Are you an engineer? Approaching 30 years of age or older? Are you professionally registered? If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to the first two questions but ‘No’ to the last, then the final question is, ‘Why?’ Sarah Beacock FEI, the Energy Institute’s Professional Affairs Director, explains.

Inflating US shale gas reserves
New rules have accelerated the growth of US proved gas reserves in an unprecedented way. A New York Times article prompted the US Congress to ask for a Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation. Ruud Weijermars and Crispian McCredie, Alboran Energy Strategy Consultants, outline the basis for reasonable doubts about the reliability and durability of US shale gas reserves under the new SEC rules.

The King is dead; Long live the King...
Plans to invest £1bn in a carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration plant at Scottish Power’s Longannet coalfired plant in Scotland were recently shelved by the UK government. Instead, government funding will now be targeted at other CCS projects in the UK, which are expected to benefit from the knowledge gathered by Scottish Power, National Grid and Shell, who invested more than £20mn in studying the proposed project over the past four years, writes Sam Botterill, EI CCS Technical Manager.

Delivering good practice and professionalism
At a recent meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), the Energy Institute’s Technical Programme and associated budget for 2012 was agreed and approved. Martin Maeso, EI Technical Director, describes the programme’s key developments over 2011 and looks ahead to work in 2012.

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