The U.S. is on track to become the world’s largest oil producer, by pumping out more crude oil than it did during the last peak in 2014. It is possible that the U.S. could gain energy independence. But, besides the boom, what else is changing?
Part of the shift in the industry came from new high-tech well systems. New technology trends — sometimes referred to as fracking 2.0 because they are becoming more efficient and faster — are increasing the chances for energy independence. Advances in technology change the way oil is extracted from the ground, and help producers cut costs. Even something like horizontal fracking made a huge difference. Now oil can be removed from places once thought was impossible. Horizontal fracking also produces more oil. There are centers called frack vans that are located on-site. Opposed to grabbing data on your truck’s tailgate. Basically, they are air-conditioned control centers where people can monitor information coming out of the well.
The people who do the dangerous work of drilling wells and laying down pipe are slowing being replaced by robots, called an “iron roughneck.” The industry is also looking for drones and smart drill bits. There is even talk of autonomous rigs that will drill an oil well by itself. Besides speed and efficiency, technology is integrated more and more for safety reasons. With the use of technology, the industry will see a loss in some jobs but gain more in the area of technology. Even graduate students are getting involved by analyzing oil wells remotely and giving feedback to the companies on how to improve the operation.
As mentioned above, jobs are changing in the oil industry. Even though the U.S. is producing more oil than ever before, jobs are at an all-time low. Because of the new technological advances, operators do more with less which means this boom needs less personal then 2014. They are going to open jobs, but not the same amount as 2014’s boom. Currently, oil companies are dangling considerable salaries in front of anyone who will bite. The wages are so high that the towns that surround the wells struggle to have competitive salaries.
Frack of the Future
While energy independence could be the future of the U.S., it is interesting to watch the trends in technology and jobs for this industry. BTL Liners support the new era of economic growth and energy independence of North America.