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Sensors Play Critical Role— Political Acceptance and Commercial Viability Determine the Future
Sensors play a critical role in the oil and gas industry, and thus in the shale gas sector. Currently, most shale gas production occurs in North America (United States and Canada), as production in other countries has not yet commenced due to governmental bans on fracking and strong public opposition. Once these constraints are removed, the potential for sensors and instrumentation in shale gas will increase significantly. In this study on sensors and instrumentation in shale gas, flow, level, pressure, and temperature sensors have been discussed; and wellhead, fracking, and separation applications have been considered. The market share of flow, level, pressure, and temperature sensors in wellhead, fracking, and separation applications has also been covered.
-The need for primary energy is rising and increasing fuel demand globally is driving the need to find new energy reserves or new, unconventional energy sources.
-Shale gas is one solution that has been identified in addressing the rise in global energy demand so much that shale reserves are identified as a game changer in global energy markets and the topic of shale gas has quickly become widespread in the energy sector.
-With falling reserves of natural gas and increasing energy costs, many countries that have technically recoverable reserves are now considering shale gas as the solution which will change their future energy dependence. In addition, advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have enabled production companies to extract gas from deeper areas than was previously possible.
-The shale gas industry is heavily dependent on governmental policies. There are numerous environmental concerns associated with the shale gas industry, such as the risk of earthquakes and pollution as a result of fracking.
-As result, although countries would want to make use of shale gas and be self-sufficient regarding their energy requirements, governments of these countries are expected to make legislative decisions that will affect the future of shale gas exploratory activities. For example, North America leads in shale gas production, whereas France and the Netherlands have enforced bans on shale gas exploration.
-In addition to political reasons and the enforcement of moratoriums on shale gas exploration, public opposition to hydraulic fracturing is further hindering the shale gas industry.
-For instance, despite licenses being granted to oil and gas companies to drill test wells in the Boxtel region of Netherlands, the exploration did not proceed due to public opposition. As result, a key topic in parliaments of many countries is to whether hydraulic fracturing procedures should be banned or allowed due to environmental concerns.
-From a sensors perspective, these components play a critical role in shale gas industry. Yet, with governments still deciding on whether hydraulic fracturing can be conducted and the resulting uncertainty among oil and gas companies over the feasibility of commercial shale gas production, the sensors and instrumentation market in the shale gas industry is a ‘small market’ with uncertainty among sensors manufacturers as well.
-An increase in the global political acceptance of shale gas exploration, coupled with the commercial viability of shale gas, will have a significant impact on the sensors market in the future.
Oil and gas: The oil and gas industry comprises companies that are involved in the exploration, production, transportation, and refining of oil and gas. This includes the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors.
Upstream sector: The upstream sector, also known as the exploration and production (E&P) sector, refers to the searching, recovery, and production of shale gas. It involves drilling and operating exploratory wells to recover shale gas.
Midstream sector: The midstream sector refers to the transportation of shale gas, water, and other fluids from the production facilities to refineries, through pipelines and other means of transportation, such as tankers and trucks.
Downstream sector: The downstream sector refers to the refining of shale oil and the selling and distribution of shale gas and other products derived from shale oil. It involves refineries and wastewater treatment plants.
Horizontal well: This is a well typically started vertically, which is curved to horizontal at depths to follow a particular rock stratum or reservoir.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking): Fracking is the process of inducing fractures in reservoir rocks through the injection of water and other fluids, chemicals, and solids under very high pressure.
Multi-stage hydraulic-fracturing: Each individual hydraulic fracturing treatment is a “stage,” localized to a portion of the well. There may be as many as individual hydraulic fracturing stages in some wells.
Oil shale: This is an organic-rich rock that contains kerogen, a precursor of oil. Depending on the organic content, it can sometimes be burned directly with a calorific value equivalent to a very low grade coal. It can be “cooked” in situ at high temperatures for several years to produce oil or can be retorted in surface operations to produce petroleum liquids. Play: Play refers to a prospective area for the production of oil, gas, or both. Usually, it is a relatively small, contiguous geographic area focused on an individual reservoir. Reserve: A reserve is a deposit of oil, gas, or coal that can be recovered profitably within existing economic conditions using existing technologies. It has legal implications in terms of company valuations for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Shale gas: Shale gas is a type of natural gas extracted from shale formations lying beneath the earth’s surface. Shale is a fine-grained, sedimentary rock formation containing a huge volume of oil and gas. This market research study discusses the potential for sensors in shale gas in wellhead, fracking, and separation applications. The study also provides information on shale reserves in major countries across the globe. Tight oil: Tight oil is also referred to as shale oil. It is the oil contained in shale and associated clastic and carbonate rocks with very low permeabilities in the micro- to nano-darcy range. Typically it is produced using horizontal wells with multi-stage hydraulic fracture treatments.
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