Attitudes about ESG are changing. What began as a demand from investors and financial institutions has become an integral component of the business strategy for energy companies and is now a primary driver for technology development.
According to Attilio Pisoni, head of strategy and technology at Baker Hughes Oilfield Services, sustainability is essential, and emissions reduction in particular has become a moral and ethical obligation.
All new technologies being introduced by Baker Hughes must reduce emissions and allow more efficient operations, he said. “From a technical point of view, new tools that have a lower impact on our environment are also more efficient and will cost less to operate, and that strengthens the case for designing technologies that are more sustainable. Efficiency has a direct correlation with emissions.”
“If we reduce our Scope 3 emissions, we are aligning with customers and helping them reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. It’s a very serious commitment.”—Attilio Pisoni, Baker Hughes Oilfield Services
Pisoni explained how that works in practice. “If we reduce our Scope 3 emissions, we are aligning with customers and helping them reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. It’s a very serious commitment.”
Pisoni pointed to several Baker Hughes offerings that help accomplish that goal, including LUMEN Sky, aerial drone-based digital methane monitoring, and LUMEN Terrain, continuous ground-based digital methane monitoring, which help operators identify and reduce fugitive methane emissions. Another product, flare.IQ, collects data from the flare meter along with gas composition from the gas analyzer and process pressure and temperature (P/T) readings using an asset’s Distributed Control System. There is digital verification when the flare process stabilizes. Then, a proprietary, patented algorithm is applied to calculate theoretical sound speed based on gas composition and P/T and compare it with measured sound speed from the meter to digitally verify that the meter has passed inspection.
Digital technologies will be increasingly important for operators, Pisoni said, and Baker Hughes’ new products and services will incorporate these technologies to enable quantifiable metrics to be captured to simplify ESG reporting.
“The biggest impact we can make as an industry to society as a whole in terms of climate change is also the biggest impact we can have for our customers,” he said.
“When you look at the development of our technologies—either internal development or those technologies we brought in externally—they are all geared around reducing our carbon footprint.”—Wayne Richards, GR Energy Services
Wayne Richards, president and CEO of GR Energy Services, said for his company, reducing carbon emissions is always a part of how it delivers service at the well site.
“That’s one thing we can control in the field,” he said. “When you look at the development of our technologies—either internal development or those technologies we brought in externally—they are all geared around reducing our carbon footprint.”
In practice, managing CO₂ output takes many forms. One of these is something Richards calls vehicle rationalization—promoting carpooling, encouraging employees to leave cars at the shop on days off and sharing vehicles on site. Through vehicle rationalization, “the company has cut vehicle use by more than 30%,” he said.
GR Energy Services also has installed EKU Power Drive devices on its fleet, which allow vehicles to idle in a mode that uses less fuel and produces less exhaust. Together, these initiatives have made a significant difference, Richards said, resulting in fewer vehicles in use as well as less idling time at the well site.
“The development of all of our technologies for perforating and plug and perf operations are built with the goal of having fewer people at well site,” Richards said. “We also invested in our gun system to improve efficiency.”
With those efficiency gains, the ZipFire perforating system saves 1,600 gallons of fuel, decreases water usage, and reduces carbon emissions by 16 metric tons per quarter, he said. “We are making 1,100 to 1,200 runs without a failure.”
Electrification is another component of the carbon reduction program. GR Energy Services has four electric trucks in its fleet today, and more will be added soon. “In the next year, about half of our units will be electric,” Richards said, noting that the pace of adding units is constrained by supply chain limitations that preclude getting electrified units to the site more quickly. “Right now, it’s a seven- to nine-month process,” he said.
“Together, all the things we are doing help in our efforts to be good citizens,” Richards said. “We have to do more with less to be competitive. It’s a smart way to do business.”
Andres Cabada, director of global stewardship and sustainability at Halliburton Co., said his company centers its ESG objectives on extracting oil and gas while reducing the environmental footprint by focusing on execution.
“We identify priorities and then change activities and behaviors to lower our and our customers’ impact,” he said.
“Emissions are top of mind, but we also recognize, as we engage with operators, that some issues are local in nature,” Cabada explained, noting that in areas such as the water-stressed Permian Basin, water preservation is critically important. “Marrying global priorities and local challenges pays off in all different ways,” he said.
“To drive this through our technology processes, we follow a well-structured lifecycle, stage-gate process. We’ve embedded sustainability as a swim lane in that process so we can identify opportunities where a product may have a favorable impact,” Cabada explained.
“We identify priorities and then change activities and behaviors to lower our and our customers’ impact.”—Andres Cabada, Halliburton Co.
In his view, three things accelerate change: data modeling, improved equipment and automation and translating existing knowledge into new applications.
Cabada defines data modeling as everything from quantifying emissions across the life cycle to building subsurface models for CO₂ storage to managing disparate sources of data for quantifying emissions. Intelligent data modeling identifies a robust process that helps customers focus on strategy and change rather than simply tracking emissions.
He provided several examples to illustrate how Halliburton improves ESG performance via automation and equipment, including the Cognitus automated cementing platform that enables an onshore cement operator to manage the offshore process, and the Zeus electric pump, which is the industry’s first pumping unit capable of achieving sustained activity at 5,000 hydraulic horsepower. The unit’s electric-based powertrain enables pumping at higher rates with a smaller footprint and allows for seamless rate changes without lag times during rate transitions.
Combining the pump with an electric blender and electric wireline unit, the company is delivering value through expanded electrification, Cabada said.
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