Oil Executives Discuss Onshore Technology Challenges, Opportunities

HOUSTON—Technologies have transformed operations onshore for oil and gas operators, but the industry continues to face challenges as it strives to keep costs down and make money.

Executives spoke about the importance of technology and existing needs recently during Rice University’s annual Energy & Clean Technology Venture Forum, which featured entrepreneurs looking to connect their new products and services with investors and others searching for solutions. With the spotlight on challenges, those gathered for panel sessions learned of areas in need of attention.

Among the most notable onshore are low recovery rates from U.S. shale plays.

“We’re up to about maybe 25% recovery of original gas in place. But liquids, we’re running at about 5% to 8% recovery of original oil in place,” George E. King, an independent consultant with 47 years of oilfield experience. “And what we’re producing at the surface is not representative of what’s in the rock downhole. We’ve got a lot of ground to make up. The reason why big data has not solved that is because we didn’t understand the process of flow. Let’s spend some money; do some research.”