How to make oil industry eco friendly
Traditionally, oil exploitation has never been considered a particularly green industry. But, the world is moving on, and it's moving on rapidly. Sustainability is no longer an option as much as imperative and old businesses that haven't paid too much attention to environmental consciousness are learning new ways to conduct their operations. The modern oil industry is definitely a part of this important movement. So, let's take a look at a couple of developments that are currently coloring the oil industry green.
The rise of the oil recycling industry
Back in 2013, Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources laid the foundations to this countrys first used oil processing plant, which was back then a huge milestone. Ever since we have seen similar developments throughout eastern Europe and Asia crowned by the opening Prista Recycling Plant in Uzbekistan. Such facilities are bringing a much-needed element of sustainability in the industry based exclusively on the expendable fossil fuels and enforcing the culture of recycling in the parts of the globe where its still taking roots.
Safer undersea drilling facilities
For years, undersea drilling operations were notorious for various accidents and spills that brought huge calamities to local ecosystems. These days, things are slowly taking the turn. Take for example the Mittelplate, Germanys most productive oilfield located deep below the North Sea. With its solid steel and concrete basin structure, seamless disposal system and state of the art drilling infrastructure, Mittelplate sets an example of how undersea drilling exploitation can be conducted in a safe and responsible manner.
Implementation of more efficient equipment
Of course, the oil industry doesn't produce an environmental impact only with spills and accidents. The amount of energy used for drilling and processing the fuel is immense. In these circumstances, all efforts made toward lowering the consumption are more than praiseworthy. Fortunately, the manufacturers have listened to the call and the modern oilfield equipment we can find on the market does an excellent job at keeping the energy wastes on the minimum. And the more efficient operations also imply a fewer number of surface drills and less disruption to ecosystem.
Much like the previous topic (energy efficiency), the question of digitalization is not exclusively associated with oil. But, simply by being a global economic behemoth, oil industry consumes endless amounts of paper for its operations. It is good to see then, that the industry-wide digitalization we have seen over the last couple of year, aimed at improving the efficiency of drilling operations, is also drastically cutting the amount of paper used by the international oil conglomerates.
The evolution of drilling techniques
The implementation of newer and more advanced machinery inevitably leads to the evolution of the decades-old drilling techniques. The modern and, what's also important to point out, more competitive drilling operations are reducing the amount of land necessary for exploitation (thus reducing the damage done to land and animal life). Another positive outcome of this whole situation is the drastic reduction of waste, once again without jeopardizing the production. If all these developments are to become a staple, they have to make financial sense for the business owners.
Wooden mats are minimizing the footprint
Traditionally, the development of drilling sites enforces a heavy toll on the surrounding nature. And once the sites are depleted nature is left mottled with ugly scars. Wooden access mats are bringing a very welcome change to this practice. Namely, instead of building the excessive roads that disrupt the local ecosystem, a number of influential oil companies resort to access mats made out of reclaimed wood. Once the operations are over, these mats can be easily dismantled and installed on some other location.
The fracking wastewater problem becoming obsolete
Finally, we come to the much-discussed issue of the vast amounts of contaminated water that are a direct result of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) operations. The good news is that this problem may soon become entirely obsolete. Namely, a number of oil and gas and companies have started investing substantial funds to bring the consumption of this essential resource during their operations to a minimum. According to estimations by GE, with proper distillation, the amount of used water can be cut in half.
As we can see, the oil industry is undergoing a huge transformation that can forever change how we look at drilling and fracking operations. Of course, the very core of this business will remain inherently unsustainable, but every step made in the right direction should be supported.