Taxonomy term

oil and gas development

Coatings may prevent pipeline clogs

When ice forms in household water pipes, blockages and expansion can cause the pipes to burst. Similar problems can arise in the transportation of oil and gas when ice-like substances called gas hydrates build up inside pipelines — an issue traditionally mitigated by insulating pipes or by using antifreeze additives. But in a new study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, researchers report an alternative solution: specialized coatings for the inside of oil and gas pipes that prevent hydrate buildups and clogs. The coatings could prove more reliable than the usual approaches, but whether the method can be applied cost-effectively on a large scale is uncertain.

27 Aug 2017

Did Jurassic tectonics lead to supergiant oilfields?

More than 6 percent of global oil production comes from a single oilfield: the supergiant Ghawar oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia, which produces more than 5 million barrels of crude oil every day. In a new study in GSA Today exploring the origins of this vast oilfield, researchers have found that extensive tectonic plate movements during the Middle and Late Jurassic may have created the conditions necessary for the formation of the Ghawar and several other oilfields across the Middle East.

01 May 2017

Water use soared as workers flocked to North Dakota's oilfields

Amid North Dakota’s oil boom, about 24,000 temporary oilfield workers moved to Williams County — in the state’s Bakken oil shale region — between 2010 and 2012, almost doubling the area’s population. In a new study, researchers found that those workers have been responsible for the region’s skyrocketing water use almost as much as hydraulic fracturing by the oil industry itself.

06 Oct 2016

Geologic Column: By train or pipeline: That is the question

Transporting hazardous materials like oil on North America’s aging rail networks is risky. But pipelines are also risky. So what’s the best option, given that we must choose one?

25 Jul 2014

Gaming the system in the Caspian Sea: Can game theory solve a decades-old dispute?

Water-rights disputes are never easy. Whether they are over pumping from aquifers shared among adjacent landowners, allocation of resources at the municipal, county or state level, or division of a river or lake shared between neighboring countries, there is an inevitable push and pull among stakeholders over who gets what and how much. In the end, resolutions tend to be compromises — often meted out by governing authorities — which, while not ideal from any one party’s standpoint, appeal to the desire of the group for stability over strife.

20 Oct 2013

Building resource corridors in Afghanistan: A solution to an interminable war?

Afghanistan has been ravaged by decades-long conflicts that have left it economically depressed, but the country also holds a potentially huge natural resource base. Some estimates have put the value of the resources — copper, gold, coal, oil, gas, industrial minerals, rare earth minerals and more — between $1 trillion and $3 trillion.

02 Sep 2013

The Bakken boom and the new wild west: A young geologist's perspective

Like many of my colleagues, I have found myself in awe of the drastically changing energy landscape around me. Both technologically and economically, the world of energy is not what it used to be. Precious resources that allow the modern world to exist are becoming harder to find and much more difficult to extract, but advances in drilling technology, such as directional drilling, are a tribute to humanity’s ability to innovate when needed.

24 Sep 2012

Benchmarks: September 23, 1933: The U.S. oil industry arrives in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia currently produces about 11 million barrels of oil per day, edging out Russia and the U.S. to rank first in the world in production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The desert kingdom also has proven reserves of more than 260 billion barrels — spread among numerous fields (though most reside in a handful of giant fields) — amounting to about one-fifth of the world’s total. The country exports more oil than any other and exerts an undeniably prominent influence on the world oil market from its seat in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
03 Sep 2012

Listening for gas bubbles

Passive acoustic technology detects natural gas leaks and seeps

In recent decades, active acoustic surveys have been used to detect methane seeps and gas hydrates — deposits of crystalline solids consisting of gas molecules, usually methane, surrounded by a cage of water molecules — buried under the seafloor.

27 Feb 2012

Benchmarks: August 2, 1922: Marines invade Teapot Dome, deepen scandal

Early in the morning of Aug. 2, 1922, soldiers from the United States Marine Corps arrived at the train station in Casper, Wyo. They had been traveling for three days from the East Coast to reach an important government facility, officially designated the Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3 (NPR-3), better known as Teapot Dome. Their orders, which President Warren Harding had approved only the week before, were to evict trespassers from a small oil claim in the northern end of the reserve. Following a quick breakfast, the soldiers proceeded north by car under the command of Capt. George K. Shuler. He had hand-picked the men, with whom he had fought in World War I.
02 Aug 2010