Access to energy remains a key enabler for growth and prosperity in the world economy. The sources and supplies of energy have evolved over the last 150 years yet hydrocarbons such as coal, crude oil, and natural gas continue to fuel world industrialization. ExxonMobil has been a leader in the exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons, in part due to long-standing commitments to R&D and a strong technology portfolio.
Advanced simulation technologies, such as finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), have progressively played an increasing role in the success of the energy industry, much like it evolved in aerospace and automotive industries a decade or so ago. Never have the technical changes in the oil and gas sector been more prevalent and ambitious than in the last 30 years, which include worldwide utilization of horizontal well drilling and hydraulic fracturing; the emergence of long-distance liquefied natural gas (LNG) transport; and the monetization of previously inaccessible hydrocarbons in deepwater, the arctic, and from unconventional resources in an environmentally friendly manner.
ExxonMobil was an early adopter of FEA software shortly after its availability to industry in the late 1970s and rapidly became a significant user to complement its existing technology portfolio. ExxonMobil also moved into CFD software as it became commercially available. This presentation reflects on a three-decade long journey that highlights some of the technical achievements and increasing contributions of advanced simulation technologies within the upstream oil & gas industry.