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The oil and natural gas industry has developed and applied an impressive array of innovative technologies to improve productivity and efficiency, while yielding environmental benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “the petroleum business has transformed itself into a high-technology industry.”
State-of-the-art technology allows the industry to produce more oil and natural gas from more remote places – some previously unreachable – with significantly less adverse effect on the environment. Among the benefits: increased supply to meet the world’s growing energy demand, reduced energy consumption at oil and natural gas facilities and refineries, reduced noise from operations, decreased size of facilities, reduced emissions of pollutants, better protection of water resources, and preservation of habitats and wildlife.
With advanced exploration and production technologies, the oil and gas industry can pinpoint resources more accurately, extract them more efficiently and with less surface disturbance, minimize associated wastes, and, ultimately, restore sites to original or better condition. Exploration and production advances include advanced directional drilling, slimhole drilling, and 3-D seismic technology. Other segments of the industry have benefited from technological advances as well. Refineries are becoming highly automated with integrated process and energy system controls; this results in improved operational and environmental performance and enables refineries to run harder and produce more products safer than ever before. Also, new process equipment and catalyst technology advances have been made very recently to meet new fuel regulations requiring very low levels of sulfur in gasoline and diesel.
Technology advances such as these are making it possible for the oil and natural gas industry to grow in tandem with the nation’s energy needs while maintaining a cleaner environment. The