While politicians court Google and Uber, fracking industry offers a different sort of high-tech job

CANNONSBURG, Pa. — If there is mud on the floor, they say in the shale industry, that means cash is coming in the door. That is, when workers are out in the field and the boots are getting dirty, money is being made.

Thanks to an infusion of high technology driving the natural gas industry, it’s not just about dirty boots anymore – and it’s a good story. It’s a marriage of advanced technologies and dirt-under-your-nails hard work rarely told, because extracting shale is not a popular business politically.

Fracking, it turns out, is the one high-tech industry not embraced by politicians in Pittsburgh who are rushing to embrace the likes of Uber and Google. Why? Because local progressive Democrats, very vocal climate activists, and the burgeoning Democratic Socialists of America party demand a wholesale repudiation of the natural gas industry. Local Democratic officials thus have to oppose fracking or risk losing in a Democratic primary.

Vice President of Engineering and Development of CNX Resources Corporation Andrea Passman stands in a control room that is used for predicting drilling locations at CNX's headquarters on July 30 in Cannonsburg, Pa.

Vice President of Engineering and Development of CNX Resources Corporation Andrea Passman stands in a control room that is used for predicting drilling locations at CNX’s headquarters on July 30 in Cannonsburg, Pa.

(Justin Merriman for the Washington Examiner)

Today’s natural gas industry isn’t the same petroleum job your grandfather or your father would have applied for. It not only attracts computer scientists, software engineers, mathematicians, and geologists to relocate to Western Pennsylvania from around the country, but it also provides careers for locals who thought those good jobs left for good when the coal mines and steel mills closed a generation ago.

Plenty of locals, who perhaps were not cut out for college, just wanted an opportunity to work hard in an industry with a future. All the better if that industry utilized the resources of the land while conserving it — nobody wants to spoil the places for hunting, fishing, climbing, hiking, and camping. Even better, a local job would allow them to live near family.

Mike May is one such guy.

The 33-year-old grew up in Imperial, Pa., along the Lincoln Highway. After graduating from West Allegheny High School, May joined the Marines. When he left the service, he wanted to come back home to Western Pennsylvania and work his way up in the world, but he just didn’t know if he had the career skills.

Mike May, 33, of Oakdale, Pa., works in the control room of CNX Resources Corporation on July 30 at their headquarters in Cannonsburg, Pa. The control room is able to monitor and adjust well sites throughout several states.

Mike May, 33, of Oakdale, Pa., works in the control room of CNX Resources Corporation on July 30 at their headquarters in Cannonsburg, Pa. The control room is able to monitor and adjust well sites throughout several states.

(Justin Merriman for the Washington Examiner)

“So, I started in the gas and oil fields literally working with my hands; I have worked in the industry from the bottom up,” he says as he stands in front of three monitors doing the same thing he did in the field.

No dirt under the nails. No weather dictating field conditions. No mud on the boots. Just precision automation that does the job a team of workers used to do in the field. Now, May does it inside the offices of CNX, a fracking company that broke off of energy giant CONSOL.

“Basically, I was a production operator,” explains May, “I ran all the physical operations, manual chokes, fixing anything that would break or go down; adjusting water dumps to increase the efficiency of the separators, water, and tank levels out there,” he says of the drilling sites.

Now, he does almost all of that remotely.

“See, this is the digital twin of the well site,” he says, pointing to one of several screens he is monitoring in a highly secure floor of the complex. “So, over here, we have all of our physical assets. This is the data surveillance side of the house. We’re also able to control and push parameters out to the field level. So, things I used have to do at the site and make physical changes I can do using technology,” he says.

Twenty miles north of this office, in Pittsburgh, several dozen young climate activists — about May’s age — protested last week in front of the mayor’s office. They pressed Democratic city and county leaders to stop the expansion of fracking in the county and to speak out against the Shell cracker plant under construction in the region.

Twenty miles in the opposite direction, public high schools are offering vocational training for their students that prepare them to walk off the high school football field on graduation day with their diplomas and into jobs that start at $129,000 a year.

Compared to the kids closer to Pittsburgh, these kids from rural high schools won’t have an inside track for jobs at the likes of Google, Uber, and others whom the Democratic mayor celebrates as part of the “new Pittsburgh.”

And the Shell cracker plant the climate activists were protesting? It doesn’t make really make crackers — cracking is the process that converts natural gas products into ethylene and then into plastics. The $6 billion dollar plant began construction last year, with construction employment expected to exceed 6,000 workers over the next ten years and provide 600 permanent positions once the plant is complete.

Since the 1920s, technology and automation have been disrupting the manufacturing world — eliminating jobs and growth opportunities throughout the different regions in the country. Here, technology is creating jobs. For May, automation and high technology didn’t take his job; it enriched it.

“Correct. I kinda evolved with the times. I am truly living the American Dream.”

SWIT™ Technology

The SWIT™ technology provides high-quality water in areas that are essential for increasing sweep efficiency and avoiding reservoir souring. By creating a total subsea waterflood system, increasing IOR possibilities beyond what is achievable by traditional topsides water injection systems, the SWIT Technology fills a technology gap.

The Seabox™ unit is our base disinfection and sediment settlement unit. The Seabox unit will encompass three different treatment processes. At the intake, the seawater passes through an electro chlorination grid where sodium hypochlorite is mixed into all of the passing seawater. Inside the Seabox unit, the seawater will be allowed to react with the chlorine for more than one hour. At the same time, particles larger than 15 microns will be settled out. At the outlet from the Seabox unit, a second electrochemical process producing hydroxyl radicals is used for final bacteria kill and to ‘decompose’ biological matters.

The current Seabox standard unit will treat 40 000 bpd of seawater and are operated and controlled by our proprietary control system. Other capacity units can easily be designed using our standard components. The unit has no moving parts and only the Treatment Unit of the Seabox unit needs to be replaced for maintenance at regular intervals. Typically every 4 years.

The SWIT Technology consists of different configurations, where the Seabox unit is the cornerstone for providing a fully disinfected water with the bulk part of particles removed. Combined with microfiltration and membranes, we provide completely particle-free water, sulfate reduced of sulfate free water and low salinity water. Water qualities can be adapted to the reservoir-specific needs.

 

Published with permission from NOV.

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HSE Heatstroke Alert – Keep Your Employees Safe with Sustainable Cooling

The new Portacool Jetstream™ series of evaporative coolers feature revitalized designs that generate significant airflow and provide superior cooling options for a variety of work environments. Available in four sizes, customers can select the Jetstream evaporative cooler that will best accommodate their space with cooling area options ranging from 1,125 to 5,625 square feet. Visit http://www.portacool.com .

Published on Jun 6, 2016

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Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

Did you ever wonder what reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1 million metric tons means in everyday terms? The greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator can help you understand just that, translating abstract measurements into concrete terms you can understand, such as the annual emissions from cars, households, or power plants.

This calculator may be useful in communicating your greenhouse gas reduction strategy, reduction targets, or other initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Access Calculator Here

Source: EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency

 

Petroleum Institute announces ‘Explore Offshore’ coalition

TALLAHASSEE — Proponents of drilling for oil and natural gas haven’t given up on tapping areas closer to Florida’s shoreline despite repeated assurances those waters will be exempt from a White House plan to expand exploration.

The Washington, D.C.-based American Petroleum Institute announced Wednesday a multi-state “Explore Offshore” coalition to support the Trump administration’s plan to open previously protected parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling.

The coalition’s Florida team, which is focused on the eastern Gulf waters, includes former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, former Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris, former Puerto Rico state Sen. Miriam Ramirez and Florida Petroleum Council Executive Director David Mica.

Mica said Floridians use more than 25 million gallons of motor fuel a day, while the industry is restricted from “some very, very good areas” that potentially have oil.

We need to do it in an environmentally responsible manner, but we must go forward,” Mica said. “I think that it’s really putting your head in the sand if you think that we’re not going to need a lot more oil and gas into the future and that we can rely only on alternative fuels.”

Many Florida officials, including Gov. Rick Scott, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein and members of Florida’s congressional delegation from both sides of the political aisle have denounced the possibility of opening to drilling almost all of the nation’s outer continental shelf — a jurisdictional term describing submerged lands 10.36 statutory miles off Florida’s west coast and 3 nautical miles off the east coast.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appeared briefly Jan. 9 in Tallahassee to announce drilling would not occur off the Florida coast. But the Trump administration’s stance has not been formalized and continues to draw questions.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on Wednesday equated the petroleum industry’s new coalition with lingering skepticism over Zinke’s assurances that waters off the Florida coast will be exempt from the plan.

“Here we go. Like us, Big Oil doesn’t believe Florida is really ‘off the table’ to new drilling — despite what Scott and the Trump Administration keep saying — and now they are making a new push to drill closer to Florida’s shores,” Nelson tweeted. “We can’t let that happen!”

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is expected to release a draft report on the offshore proposal before the end of the year. That will kick off the second round of public hearings.

Drilling proponents have hailed the prospects of exploring for oil and gas closer to shore as benefiting consumers by potentially creating jobs and additional government revenue while strengthening national security.

The American Petroleum Institute said its coalition features more than 100 businesses, organizations and officials from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In its release, the institute highlighted Florida’s dependence on natural gas, which generates 67 percent of the state’s electricity, and forecast that offshore development could result in $2.6 billion in private investment in Florida and $1 billion per year in state revenues.

Kottkamp said the “availability of affordable energy is critical” to Florida’s quality of life.

“We look forward to working with our local leaders to discuss ways to maintain our state’s natural beauty while at the same time expanding opportunities to keep our nation energy independent,” Kottkamp said in a statement.

In November, Florida voters will decide whether to approve a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban nearshore oil and gas drilling. That ban would affect state-controlled waters.

Source: Panama City News Herald

Video

The Reality of Digital in Oil & Gas

What does digitization mean for the oil and gas industry?

Digital has been the big buzz word in the industry for some time now – but what exactly does it mean. McKinsey & Company Senior Partner Matt Rogers sat down with the Financial Times US Industry and Energy Editor, Ed Crooks in the first of the Digital Dialogues in Oil & Gas series to discuss the impact of digital in the industry.

Ed Crooks

Ed Crooks

US Industry and Energy Editor

FINANCIAL TIMES

See bio 

Matt Rogers

Matt Rogers

Senior Partner

MCKINSEY & COMPANY

The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organizations, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity, and accuracy. In 2016 the FT passed a significant milestone in its digital transformation as digital and services revenues overtook print revenues for the first time. The FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of more than 910,000 and makes 60% of revenues from its journalism.

The McKinsey Center for Future Mobility was created to help business leaders and policymakers come to terms with a future that is increasingly autonomous, connected, electrified, and shared. Based in four global hubs (Beijing, Detroit, Munich, and Silicon Valley), our forward-thinking and integrated perspective, industry expertise, proprietary research, and global convening power give us a unique combination of assets to help clients navigate the mobility revolution.

www.mckinsey.com

August 2018, McKinsey & Company, www.mckinsey.com. Copyright (c) 2018 McKinsey & Company. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

Frost & Sullivan Identifies the Top 5 Industry Shifts Fueling the Future of Drilling Systems

Blockchain, AI Technologies to Increase Upstream Operational Efficiency

SANTA CLARA, CaliforniaAug. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, The Future of Drilling Systems, highlights the rise of disruptive technologies such as blockchain, additive manufacturing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how they are setting the stage for large-scale gains in operational and cost efficiencies in the drilling sector. Intelligent, automated drilling systems demonstrably have a huge impact on the drilling rig count and cost per well drilled as they require fewer on-site workers and boost the efficiency of people still on location. In addition, these systems proactively conduct maintenance to decrease non-productive time (NPT) and critical failures.

The analysis also provides an overview of emerging technology areas, industry shifts, company profiles, and resulting business model transformations in drilling activities through 2025. It presents clients with a holistic, directional analysis of the drilling ecosystem, with a focus on onshore operations.

For further information on this analysis, please visit: http://frost.ly/2o1

“Next-generation automated drilling systems can drastically reduce the time spent on reporting, record keeping, and compliance by integrating technologies such as advanced computing, advanced sensors, and computer vision,” said Chirag Rathi, Energy & Environment Consulting Director at Frost & Sullivan. “While robotics will leverage sensors and digital twins, blockchain can aid in parts ordering and logistics. Similarly, additive manufacturing can help create parts, augmented reality (AR) can handle maintenance, and the whole system can be coordinated through cognitive computing.”

The new upstream methods are expectedly triggering novel business models and altering the value chain. For instance, contractors and service providers are consolidating vertically to expand their offerings to provide proprietary, all-in-one solutions. In due time, legacy rig fleets will be rationalized and integrated across a holistic automation platform, which, in turn, will stoke industry demand for open systems architecture.

“The rising relevance of digitally enabled business models will coincide with the increasing importance of data in influencing procurement decisions. The net result will be a highly transparent and quantifiable value chain,” noted Rathi. “The greatest industry impact will be felt when an AI-driven platform that automates procurement across all drilling and support activities emerges as a trusted, secure, third-party application encompassing the entire drilling ecosystem.”

The drilling industry is clearly in the midst of a digital transformation. Among the numerous big and small industry shifts, the five that stand out are:

  1. Data-driven decision making: As actionable data replace human judgment, Big Data analytics combined with machine learning and other AI techniques will enable smarter automation, streamlined workflows, and optimized supply chains for higher operational efficiencies.

  2. Shifting workforce composition: An aging workforce will be replaced by digital natives, prompting enthusiastic adoption of digital solutions.

  3. Digitally enabled business models: Upstream will move beyond fixed day-rate models as operators peg rates against micro-fluctuations in a range of benchmarks. This will promote data-validated performance over other contracting considerations such as brand or relationship history.

  4. Accelerating the pace of innovation: The push for open systems architecture will fuel innovation-based competition.

  5. Value chain disruptions: Operators are acquiring suppliers to lower costs. Eventually, they may take over drilling responsibilities due to the potential of automation to diminish costs and liability risks.

The Future of Drilling Systems is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Oil & Gas Innovation Council.

About Frost & Sullivan

For over five decades, Frost & Sullivan has become world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success

Contact us: Start the discussion.

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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan

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