According to a market report from Transparency Market Research, the global exploration and production (E&P) software market is expected to reach a valuation of US$14.7 bn by the end of 2024, up from US$3.1 bn in 2015. As part of the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry, resource owners and operators of E&Ps work in the search for hydrocarbons beneath the ground (exploration), and then the subsequent well development and production from viable well fields. By utilizing intelligent software that can not only help locate viable well fields more accurately but also increase current production efficiencies with real-time data, companies can streamline their operations to improve their returns.
Current prices for oil barrels have been hovering around $70. While this is an improvement over previous barrel prices, Gifford Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, states, “The rise in crude prices is not jump-starting an industry that’s been struggling.” But this doesn’t mean there’s no optimism for the upstream sector. Many are finding success with natural gas. For instance, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), in 2013, “there were at least two million hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells in the U.S., and up to 95 percent of all new wells drilled were done so by way of fracking.” Whether the future of the upstream exploration and production lies in traditional oil production or natural gas extraction, one thing is for sure—technology is increasing to make all industries more efficient.
Transparency’s report points to one particular area of development that could see some increase with the introduction of enhanced software—brownfield development, going after previously used but thought to be derelict land or area. In particular, The North Sea has seen a production increase in brownfield development of 16 percent since 2014, according to Oil & Gas UK. According to a report from Offshore Magazine, a large part of this improvement lies in, “intelligent well planning and its accompanying software innovations. These technologies allow operators to find and exploit bypassed zones in the reservoir by allowing engineers to set drilling parameters for each trajectory and compute well path uncertainty and collision risks.”
Digital technologies found in other industries are also seeing more applications in offshore oil and gas. Just as machine learning technology is being used to predict an internet browser’s user behavior or to anticipate complex scenarios in industries ranging from agriculture to robotics, it’s being put into use for software engineering for well planning logistics and production data.
Machine learning is being used to address complex petrophysical and reservoir engineering challenges. PowerLog™ from CGG Software, for example, enables users to calculate the probability of different rock-type distributions and develop porosity and permeability models in unconventional reservoirs. It utilizes Python’s own plugins and database, which includes a litany of data, visualization libraries, and programs. By reducing downtime and giving exploration geoscientists raw data at much quicker rates and eliminating unsuitable field sites, opportunities exist where we once thought they were futile.
In Transparency’s report, they divided the E&P software market into two segments—on-premise and cloud-based software. While on-premise holds the largest market share at almost 71 percent, they predict cloud-based software to grow at a significant rate and eventually becoming a majority leader in the market by 2025. Not only that, but they also predict production software to rise with a maximum CAGR of 18.7 percent during the forecast period from 2017 to 2025. This is exciting news not only for those in the exploration and production market but also players across the upstream segment, including control systems designers and operators for production sites.
As software continues to improve the efficiency and scalability of exploration and production models, Petrotech will be there to provide the solutions that resource owners and operators require in the upstream market and beyond. We don’t just provide a product—we provide a flexible, custom solution based on your company’s needs, be it a turn-key Capacity and Loadsharing controls for oil and gas production or customized solutions for pipeline booster compressors for pipeline and gas processing further down the pipeline. Browse our latest white papers to learn more about our specific applications.