Technology Boosts Domestic Oil Production
Domestic crude oil production is on the rise in the US thanks to advances in technology and new drilling techniques. Geoscientists and engineers can now predict how much crude is underground before drilling begins, which is starting to bring hundreds of old oil wells back to life and decrease US dependence on foreign oil.
Petroleum imports have fallen to about 47 percent, compared to a record of over 60 percent in 2005, according to statistics from the Energy Information Administration. Dependence on foreign oil hasn't been this low in 15 years.
Advances in technology have given oil producers the ability to create a transparent image of the underground, discovering billion-barrel formations under old wells once considered impenetrable. One of the new techniques in reaching these discoveries is offset angle drilling, entering wells at an angle between 45 degrees and 80 degrees, replacing older drilling equipment.
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California is quickly reversing its long decline in oil production. Orcutt, for example, was pioneered in 1901 as having great potential for “brown shale.” Operators drilled almost 2,000 vertical wells, averaging 3,000 feet in depth. In 2004, new technology revealed the shallow layer of rock contained more oil than any other part of the formation. Oil production is now double what it was, and it all comes from no more than 900 feet deep. Replacing old vertical well techniques has more than doubled oil production in other areas as well.
New production efficiency along with an increase in ethanol and lowered demand for gasoline in the US has led to a huge drop in foreign oil dependency. The most important change, however, is “the ability to make the ground below seem transparent,” said Jonathan G. Kuespert, Breitburn's senior geoscience advisor, to the Los Angeles Times. “We were never able to do that before.”
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.