News Article

Results-Focused Exploration Technology Innovation

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 07/14/2021 - 18:11

While certain sections of the industry had to adjust to the events of 2020, exploration activities experienced a positive period. PEMEX and private operators made a number of important discoveries and  prominent exploration and drilling plans were approved by CNH.

These results need to be deeply understood if they are to be replicated. It is important to highlight that that successful exploration campaigns are a collective effort, and that innovation and new technologies can play a significant role in any number of the many processes that make up such a campaign.

To understand the surveying of increasing the data generated through drilling, and even the importance of more traditional and analogue, but still extremely relevant processes, such as rock core sampling and analysis, experts met at Mexico Oil and Gas Summit on July 14 and presented “Results-Focused Exploration Technology Innovation.”

Moderator of the panel, Gustavo Hernandez, International Vice President of the Mexican Union of Engineering Associations (UMAI) kicked off the discussion by asking the experts about the current role of technology for extraction activities.

“The technology allows mitigating risks in the oil extraction chain,” explained Jeimy Mathison, General Director of Kasoil. “Mexico has more than 70 years in extraction exploration and has incorporated exploration software, it is the starting point in the production chain to reduce risks,” Mathison added. However, she said that all of this technology would be useless if companies did not invest on development and training of human resources.

“Training of personnel combined with adequate technologies are the key to success in exploration efforts,” said Eduardo Arriola, Operations Manager at Golfo Suplemento Latino. Arriola explained that much of the use and advantages of technologies have to do with the experience of a talented Mexican workforce.

The role of technology in the sector has evolved from 2D Seismic Data Software, to 3D Seismic Data Software and to 3C4D Seismic Data Software, said Gerardo Clemente Martínez, President of AMGE. “These have allowed us to generate a knowledge base that we can transmit, to have more conscious operations focused on optimizing times.” In line with Arriola’s comment, Clemente said that there are people who are familiar with these software models that govern the geological evolution of the areas, thus they are considered the real advantage for an innovative company, as without them, innovation would just exist, but would not be used. Clemente also recognized that while the oil industry has contracted as a result of the pandemic, private companies are still open to hiring, “it is important to create quick hiring mechanisms so that people do not lose their skills gained in the sector.”

Arriola said that this contraction also helped the industry to refocus their efforts and stick to collaboration toward achieving the set strategies for exploration success. He added that the pandemic taught the industry to work with different budgets, “whether limited of sufficient, our budgets will tell us what we can do and in which areas we can assign it, however, availability of equipment and technology, workforce, and money must converge to have the true skills of success for our campaigns.” Mathison added that Mexico has unique geological conditions, which makes the trained workforce of the country even more valuable.

Focusing on the impact of innovation on their campaigns, Clemente presented  other key aspects for exploration activity, “companies have to know how to select the technology they need, it must be consistent and tailored so that it works precisely for what they want it.” He said that, just as the workforce, technology has to respond to the specific conditions of Mexico. “In AMGE, we take good technological experiences and tropicalize them to fit out needs.”

The use of data is also a watershed for operations, Mathison explained that “drilling a well is the result of much analysis and specialized studies that allow timely decision making, these processes allow operators to achieve geological and commercial success to maximize the value of the hydrocarbon.” Thus, Mathison encouraged companies to continue working sequentially, “the difference that the bit makes a mistake is associated with the studies that we are doing to guarantee operational success”, she said that it is always important to carry out sequence studies and evaluate projects to reduce uncertainty and to meet their goals as well.

In regards to further innovation in the industry, Arriola sees technology as a constant evolver, therefore, “if a new paradigm shift occurs it will likely use the same technology, but feature different models that manage to optimize results.” Clemente believes that digital information will allow standardization of data and provide a better access to the information in the way companies need it, “it would also make it easier, from home, from our cell phone in a simple way to support decision-making.”

Mathison concluded that technology will also begin to optimize the time of human hours and machine hours, therefore, studies of 3 to 6 months can be shortened to something more immediate.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst