When you think of the oil industry, environmentalism and sustainability are probably not the two words that come to mind. Nevertheless, we are living in an increasingly eco-friendly world, where both the residential as well as the commercial realm are adopting and implementing green practices in order to create a safer living and working environment, cut needless expenditure, and aid the preservation of Earth.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that modern oil companies recognize the need for a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly business model that will not only help the environment, but the industry as a whole. Let’s take a look at the five ways oil companies are trying to adopt the green mindset.
Acting on raw data and industry insights
Information is the key to innovation and prosperity, and the business world knows this all too well. The oil and gas industry is no different, and modern companies recognize just how much technology plays a vital role in raising productivity while minimizing expenditure and waste. In 2017, research concluded that offshore oil platforms were performing at only 77% of their true production potential.
This means that there is plenty of room for improvement across the board, and those companies that aim to survive in the years to come have begun to integrate smart analytics systems into their operations in order to generate greater returns, for themselves, and the environment. Identifying wasteful areas using modern software is vital in reducing bottlenecks, accidents, and resource wastage.
Reducing freshwater usage and boosting water recycling
If there is anything the oil companies are known for, it’s that all of their processes require copious amounts of freshwater on a daily basis. The two most wasteful processes, for example, are fracking and element separation – the use of water to separate oil from elements in oil sands. In recent years, though, oil companies have improved their freshwater recycling processes to an enviable degree, managing to recycle between 80 and 95% on average.
Still, innovative companies are looking for new ways to reduce freshwater usage from the very start, rather than resorting to recycling alone. The focus is currently on reusing water for a myriad of processes by improving filtration and eliminating contamination through increased water treatment solutions, such as UV.
Preventing oil and methane leaks
Methane is a key contributor to air pollution and climate change, something the oil industry is aware of and strives to minimize at all costs. Likewise, by using existing and emerging technologies and utilizing contemporary oilfield equipment to its full potential, oil companies are able to minimize wasteful oil spills, breakdowns, as well as unwanted methane leaks.
What’s more, the whole concept of conservation is improved with increased oil recycling, made possible by technological advancements. By using micro refineries to transform waste oil into usable diesel fuel, the company can reduce the amount of oil waste while fueling the needs of the market.
Improving auxiliary processes across the board
It’s important to keep in mind that even though not all innovative software and tech is used to make the processes in the oil and gas industry greener, they still aid the environmental cause. This is achieved by building more cost-efficient processes across the company, processes that require fewer investments and resources, but yield greater results in smaller timeframe. All of this creates a tight loop of sustainability.
When companies use 3D modelling to accurately analyze and assess the viability of dig sites and the structural integrity of oil wells, they are able to make better, cost-effective decisions and opt for the best way forward without wasting resources. Complementing innovative software with advanced robotics, machinery, and automation, the industry is able to reduce its carbon footprint without sacrificing production rates.
Investing into and implementing renewable energy
Renewable energy is a highly popular and highly lucrative market nowadays, and the oil and gas companies are definitely taking notice. In fact, an increasing number of companies in the field are investing into the renewables market, and while the underlying reason is long-term gain, that doesn’t diminish the fact that these investments are crucial for the development and growth of every renewable energy source.
Solar is the leading industry with an enviable growth rate, and is only expected to soar in the decades to come as it becomes the primary energy source in the residential realm. Oil companies looking to stay in the game long-term are, therefore, making substantial investments in building the popularity and recognition that renewable energy deserves.
Oil and gas is not inherently sustainable, nor is it eco-friendly, but that doesn’t mean companies are not innovating their way towards longer-term sustainability. With the use of modern tools and smart software, the forward-looking oil companies are working towards a greener, safer future.