The purpose of this paper is to discuss and forecast the future evolution of technology affecting the petroleum sector in Canada. However it is never sufficient to just forecast technology development. It is important to set the context inwhich the forecast is made. In this case, 8 key issues that can affect petroleum technology are discussed and evaluated- oil prices, global warming, markets, R&D pegormers, government support, the resource base, information technology and deregulation. In the context of these assessments, future technology evolution is predicted for 4 areas - geosciences, production, EOR [enhanced oilrecovery) and upgrading. The forecasts are provided for two time frames - near term (0 to 20 years) and longer term (20 to 50 years).


The purpose of this paper is to discuss and predict the future evolution of technology affecting the petroleum sector in Canada. The time frame assumed is the next 50 years. Two phrases used herein are ""near term", meaning the next 20 years, and "longer term", meaning 20 to 50 years from now. One may think that 50 years is a long time frame, but in the resource business the length of time for new technology to achieve commercial significance is often protracted and underestimated. For example, a multi-lateral horizontal well was drilled in 1953. However, horizontal wells did not achieve commercial significance until the late 1980's. Multilateral horizontals are just now achieving commercial significance - a time lag of over 40 years!

This paper is developed in a logical sequence. First it is important to set the context for the forecast - what issues and assumptions are important and can impact the timing or success of any new technologies. Second, sector forecasts are provided with a focus on 4 areas - geosciences, production, EDR and upgrading technologies. Each of these areas can have a major impact on the petroleum sector and is critical for growth and prosperity. Placement of technology in the time frames is based on the authors' view of when the technology will achieve a level of commercial significance. Thirdly, critical factors to achieving the forecast are discussed. Our industry is rife with acronyms and many are used in this report. To help the reader an acronym dictionary is included at the end.

Like any forecast on the future there should be disclaimers:

  • This paper does not necessarily reflect the views of our Company, it is a personal view of the future

  • The authors warrant no accuracy or completeness of the forecast. In fact, the only thing known for sure is that, at least in part, the forecast will be wrong and incomplete.

  • Like any forecast, this is a blend of what the authors believe will happen and what they would like to see happen. The reader may choose to view this as a wish list, without seriously changing the intent of the paper.

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