We’re living in a world that’s trying to be more eco-friendly every day, so even if the oil industry is not exactly synonymous with environmentalism, it is making good strides towards becoming more sustainable. By implementing various green practices, this historically unsustainable industry is working hard to create a safer environment for everyone. So how are these modern oil companies adopting the green mindset and pushing for a cleaner future?
Good data harvesting
Artificial intelligence is slowly taking over the world of data harvesting and analytics, which can be a good thing when it comes to environmentalism. According to research, most off-shore platforms are running at only 60 or 70% of their efficiency which is a great waste. This fact also causes the oil industry to lose billions of dollars every year. But, with more frequent use of AI, oil industry operations can be more efficient, cutting the waste and reducing the environmental impact.
Investing in oil recycling
Oil recycling is not a new idea, but this potentially valuable subsection of the oil industry is still very far from living up to its full potential. When we take into account that the process of oil recycling is often less expensive and more commercially viable than actual safe disposal of oil, recycling becomes even more important. Moving resources to betterment and expansion of waste-oil refineries can help the industry in their fight with pollution and waste and allow it to take steps in the right direction when it comes to environmentalism while still making money.
Investing in water recycling
Oil companies are notorious for their huge waste of water. All processes in the oil industry require a lot of freshwater every day. For instance, fracking and element separation (separation of oil from elements in oil sands) are the two most wasteful processes. However, recently, oil companies have been trying to improve their freshwater recycling processes and managed to raise it to an enviable level. On average, they manage to recycle between 80 and 95% of water.
Additionally, modern companies are looking for other ways besides recycling to reduce freshwater usage. The momentary focus is on reusing water from various processes by boosting filtration and removing contamination with different water treatment solutions like UV.
Updated oilfield equipment
A huge piece of the oil industry efficiency puzzle lies in modern equipment. It’s practically impossible to reach the necessary levels of efficiency (even with all the AI computing power they own) without investing in better equipment from the one they currently use. Luckily, the innovative oilfield equipment that’s been hitting the market in the last few years has provided the users with just what they need. It helps with efficiency, reduces downtime, and improves output. If all players on the market turned to this new equipment, the entire industry would become much more sustainable.
Prevention of leaks
One of the biggest contributors to air pollution and climate change is methane, a gas that’s very much present in the production of oil. Fortunately, the industry is aware of its effect and is trying to minimize its leaks as much as possible. By using new technologies, oil companies are able to reduce spills, breakdowns and unwanted methane leaks.
Better focus on renewable sources
While increasing operation efficiency is very important for sustainability, that’s not the only way the oil industry can become greener. The other part of this puzzle lies in the shift towards renewable energy. Although both oil and gas industries rely on fossil fuels, their gear can run on renewable sources. Some oil giants already invest billions in green energy, so now, the rest of the pack needs to follow as well.
Engagement in voluntary programs
Since embracing change and sustainability, oil companies have also invested in voluntary programs that can help the world address environmental issues. These programs aim to go beyond what the government regulations impose in order to repair the damage environmental disasters cause. Some of the examples of such initiatives are the EPA’s STAR program and OSHA’s voluntary protection programs. Since these programs are voluntary, they allow scientists to make quick environmental strides. For instance, one of the initiatives called Rigs for Reefs involves sinking abandoned rigs to turn them into coral reefs. And, most importantly, it’s working!
Every industry, company, and individual needs to be aware of their environmental impact, so oil companies also need to find innovative new methods to provide consumers with cleaner products. Thanks to all the changes we see every day, our transition to green energy sources will be much less painful and much more profitable.
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