OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Richelle Oerlemans

    Oil Production – A Global Snapshot

    Onshore – North America

    As one of the top global crude oil reserves, the Canadian oil industry is expected to grow steadily towards the year 2030, according to a recent report released by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). The report projects an increase in oil sands production of 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) to accommodate this prediction. Additionally, conventional production in Western Canada is expected to grow by 17 percent in the next two years. Using in-situ techniques (applying heat/steam to bitumen reservoirs underground for extraction) will result in an increase of 2.5 million bpd between 2012 and 2030. The report also suggests that demand in the Midwest Region of the United States will see an increase of 460,000 bpd by 2020 as refineries in Washington and California will need to replace declining sources—presenting a future market opportunity for Canadian producers.

    Offshore – Europe and Africa

    From offshore projects like the Brynhild oil field in the Norwegian North Sea, located 10 km from the U.K. border and 210 km offshore of the Norwegian mainland, there is an expected 12,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to be achieved once the project reaches its peak potential. The oil field was discovered at a water depth of 80 m, 3,300 m beneath the seabed in 1992, and the first oil production is expected to be extracted by the end of 2013.

    Discovery of the Jubilee Field in the deep waters offshore the Republic of Ghana in 2007 is currently yielding 110,000 bpd. Kosmos Energy is studying debottlenecking opportunities to further expand the production capabilities and anticipates record production levels by the end of 2013. Additional phases at the Jubilee are planned, with long-term production at the field expected for years to come.

    Safety Is Key

    Committed to safety and sustainability, the TransCanada Energy East Pipeline promises to be a leader in the global oil industry as it embarks on a task to convert 3,000 kilometers of natural gas pipeline to accommodate oil transportation. This will also include construction of 1,400 kilometers of new pipeline, providing new employment and market opportunities. The CAPP report anticipates a capacity of 850,000 bpd by 2017 for this project, which runs through Eastern Canada.

    With so many emerging pipeline projects, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) has made safety a top priority. The organization prides itself on their latest statistics that state that 99.99 percent of liquid products transported via pipelines were transported safely between 2002 and 2011. The CEPA quotes Stephen Wuori, president of Liquids Pipelines and Major Projects for Enbridge Inc., from an address he made during the International Pipeline Conference held in September 2012. Wuori stated, “the liquid spilled from pipelines in Canada over the past 10 years is equivalent to three teaspoons dripped out of a gasoline nozzle over the course of 50 fill-ups of 50 litres each. This amounts to 5.5 litres of liquid spilled per million litres transported by pipeline in Canada between 2002 and 2011.” These low numbers support CEPA’s priority of reducing pipeline leaks to zero in the near future by utilizing new technologies and materials.

    In an effort to detect pipeline leaks before they become a major problem, a Calgary-based, Alberta, company has introduced an innovative and interesting method of minimizing safety concerns and alleviating costly shutdowns. Detector Dog Services International Ltd. (DDSI) provides specially trained canines to sniff out thousands of different substances with an impressive accuracy rate of less than half of a meter from the leak. DDSI boasts that their healthy, properly trained dogs maintain a success rate of 100 percent. While sniffing pigs have been used in the past by a Texas-based company, a canine’s sense of smell has proven to be much more reliable and accurate.

    With the promise of future growth in the oil industry, we can expect to see a steady increase in market and employment opportunities, and a continued focus on safety and sustainability in the years ahead.

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