The history of the energy industry is a record of extraordinary technological achievements, in which increasing energy availability and decreasing environmental impact have always gone hand-in-hand. From ever-cleaner motor fuels to extended-reach drilling, we have constantly striven to improve our products and our processes, our efficiency and our environmental performance.
If energy is high in the hierarchy of modern human needs, so is the environment. And, as it always has been, technology is the key to meeting both demands.
Exploring new technology ExxonMobil has long led the industry in research, investing over 800 million euros a year in technology applications and Research and Development. As a result, we are now accessing oil and gas reserves in places - and ways - that were not possible only a few years ago:
- we pioneered 3-D seismic mapping of oil and gas reserves deep below the earth’s crust, and we are now using sophisticated 4-D mapping to track them as they move over time. This improves drilling success rates, increases the amount we can get from each reservoir and limits the impact on the surface by reducing the number of wells we need to drill
- we invented Remote Reservoir Resistivity Mapping (R3M), which uses electromagnetic, rather than acoustic, energy to detect reservoirs of oil and gas on Sakhalin Island in Russia, we are using an onshore rig with extended-reach drilling capacity to access reserves below the earth’s surface - more than 11 kilometres out to sea
- our new Fast Drill Process (FDP) can more than double drilling penetration rates, substantially increasing the speed at which oil and gas reserves are retrieved
- a growing share of the oil and gas being produced worldwide today comes from offshore fields in very deep water. Hence the development of FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) ships, which are used in the North Sea and are well suited to deep water. Further afield, off the coast of Angola, we operate the world’s largest FPSO vessel, which is now helping to access reserves that lie under 1 km of water - and more than 1.4 km below
- advances in the production of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) have transformed the scale on which gas can be shipped
Every one of these breakthroughs has increased energy availability, improved efficiency or reduced environmental impact. Some are helping us to achieve all three. As demand rises, continuing improvements in the way we retrieve resources will become increasingly important. So the search – and the research - goes on.