Technological Advancement in Oil Industry

29. October, 2013 News 5 comments

Past technological advances have affected energy supply, demand, and production costs. Previously in oilfield, big data was gathered from many points throughout exploration, discovery, and processing. The capture and analysis of big data needed to drive decisions was challenging. Some of the challenges included data utilization, intelligent modeling, precise computation, and exploration speed and focus. However, in today’s world, handling of such data has become much easier. The sources of technology intended for the oil and gas markets have changed over time. In the early 1980s, major oil and gas companies began to decrease their research and development spending, and then services companies stepped forward to fill the void by increasing their R&D expenses.  The petroleum industry is fueling a secure future through advanced technology research and development.

Total R&D expenditures are divided as follows according to INTEK:

R&D Expenditures

Petroleum science has evolved from undeveloped geology to supercomputer- based calculations and 3D views of the subsurface. It has taken the drilling process from guessing game to the defined targeting of fields. The 21st century Oil & Gas Industry is charged by innovation and technology. It has dramatically altered the manner in which oil and gas reserves are identified, developed, and produced. Advancements in technology have also improved environmental protection and conservation of natural resources.

Technological advances affect all sectors of the energy market and all other regions in the world. The competitive petroleum industry promotes the technology transfer worldwide.  Petroleum refining has grown increasingly complex in the last two decades, due to lower-quality crude oil and environmental regulations that require cleaner manufacturing processes and higher-performance products.

Key drivers that are impacting the industry’s competitive position are following:

  • Safety and the environment
  • Exploiting changing markets and demand
  • Competitive forces
  • Increasing the efficiency of energy use and energy products.

In many cases, technology research and development (R&D) are keys to meeting these challenges and maintaining the health and profitability of the industry.

Technological Progress

Many of the technology improvements involve the use of existing technologies in more efficient ways. Major conception & evolution of technological developments are on the horizon of:

  • Fundamental Research
  • Oil and natural gas supply
  • Transportation
  • Industrial Markets

Form of Technology Progress

1-  New Material
2-  New Equipment
3-  New Knowledge
4-  New Management Techniques

Technological Progress is Difficult to Identify

1- Most technological progress is incremental. Small incremental improvements result in large advances over time.
2-Technological progress is often intangible, for example, new knowledge & new management techniques.
3- Technological progress often originates outside the petroleum industry, for examples, improvements in computer equipment and software. 

The Petroleum Industry has identified research priorities in the following areas:

Research Priorities

Photos: Mehwish & Google Images


  • INTEK: “Trends in Oil and Gas Industry R&D Expenditures (2004),” presentation prepared for Office of
  • Oil and Natural Gas, United States Department of Energy, Arlington, VA (2004).
  • Working Document of the NPC Global Oil & Gas Study
  • Petroleum Industry of the Future
  • Advancement on Drilling Technology in Petroleum Industry
  • The Impact of Petroleum Technology Advances on Long-Term Energy Markets

About author

Mehwish Khanam

I am Final Year Student of Petroleum & Gas Engineering at University of Engineering & Technology Lahore and Ambassador of YoungPetro in Pakistan.

View all posts by Mehwish Khanam