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Tulsa oilman says advances in technology are driving new oil, gas boom

The technology that fueled the ongoing shale oil and gas boom was neither horizontal drilling nor hydraulic fracturing, according to Tulsa oilman George Kaiser.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: March 8, 2013

As a result, producers can recover far more oil and natural gas than previously possible at a relatively low cost.

“At three times the cost, you can drill the equivalent of 12 to 48 wells,” Kaiser said.

Along with better drilling techniques, technology also has helped producers more accurately find the oil in the ground.

“Real-time geophysics is what has really changed the game,” said Mark Mills, CEO at Digital Power and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “You couldn't do that before.”

Three-dimensional seismic data — and the enormous amount of computer power needed to map it — have allowed producers to target their drilling and fracking efforts better.

Operators are using the process to target the dense shale, limestone and other source rocks that underlie the softer layers they used to aim for.

The improvements have allowed the industry to reverse a 40-year decline in domestic oil production.

“The geology is exactly the same as it was 50 years ago. The world is awash with hydrocarbons,” Mills said. “The only question is whether you're allowed to get to them and whether you have the technology to do it.”

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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