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6- www. world- petroleum. org 1.2- The big picture denominator in much of what we do: some-where along the line, it's been involved in the production of the book you're reading to the computer at home to the car in the drive-way to the asphalt that coats the road out-side. As well as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, the oil industry is responsible for many of the products that define modern life - from heating and electricity generation, to the plastics that go into products ranging from medical equipment to children's toys. Without people finding and producing oil, life as we know it wouldn't exist. Oil exploration starts with three questions: is there oil and gas? How much? And is it economically producible? A picture of the subsurface Energy companies start to answer the first question by building a picture of the subsur-face. Seismic data enable geophysicists to visualise what's kilometres below the sur-face, layer by layer. Sophisticated compu-ter- modelling software and phenomenal computing power - we're talking 200 ter-aflops and 2,000 terabytes of data storage - can process that information into detailed 3- D images. Geologists, with their under-standing of how the world was formed, can help determine the significance of structures identified by seismic studies - and specu-late about whether they might contain oil. Once wells have been drilled - ver-tically or horizontally - and steered re-motely into carefully targeted spots deep inside the Earth, rock samples can be re-trieved for analysis. And sensors can be placed down the hole to gather more in-formation, using a wide range of measure-ments - electrical resistivity, radiation, ul-trasound and others. Fibre- optic cables transmit the data to the surface where su-per- computers can analyse them, provid-ing answers to the second question - how much oil and gas is down there? Think about how robust that downhole hardware needs to be. The closer you get to the centre of the earth, the hotter it gets and the less like a lab; 5,000 metres under-ground, temperatures can easily hit 250° C and pressures 1,800 bar. Try putting your laptop in the oven. The answer to the third question - what's economically producible? - is largely a fac-tor of technology, which is why energy com-panies invest so heavily in research and de-velopment. Twenty years ago, working in water depths of 3,000 metres and drilling to total depths of 10,000 metres were unthink-able. Today they're a reality. . Can doCan't do . Courtesy of Baker Hughes Incorporated

7- www. energy- future. com 1.2- The big picture In another 20 years, those limits will have been stretched yet further. And technology will branch into new areas: perhaps na-nobots will be able to go into the reservoir and say what's down there. Or engineered bacteria will change the properties of, say, sticky oil - stuff that at the moment is in-credibly tricky to retrieve - to make it flow better. Or sustainable biofuels will be made from fast- growing algae. There are plenty of other ideas for energy supply in the future. Some are established, such as nuclear. Some are starting to make inroads in the market, such as wind. Some are commercially unproved, such as hydro-gen fuel cells. And some are technologically speculative. But whatever the energy future holds, nothing can yet replace oil and gas at scale - and won't be able to for decades. Fossil fuels - deposits of oil, natural gas and coal formed over millions of years in the earth's crust from organic matter - may retain their 80% share of the energy mix over the next two decades, estimates the International Energy Agency ( IEA), a multi-government think tank. Even with the intro-duction of ambitious green policies, fossil fu-els would still account for 67% of primary en-ergy demand in 2030, according to the IEA. Oil will remain predominant " even under the most optimistic of assumptions about the de-velopment of alternative technology", it says. That means greater innovation and in-genuity will be needed at oil companies - not just to find enough oil to meet incremen-tal demand, but also to find enough oil to replace lost volumes as existing fields dry out. Even if oil demand were to remain flat to 2030, four Saudi Arabias will be needed by 2030 just to offset the effect of oil field de-cline, the IEA says. That's a big challenge. But despite its hefty reliance on technol-ogy, oil's not jut a science endeavour. It's a business that depends on understand-ing and adapting to numerous other forces - politics, geopolitics, economics, environ-mental considerations, legal questions. Just looking at a map instantly gives you a feel for the political implications of, say, building a natural gas pipeline to Europe from the Middle East or Central Asia ( see p106). Then there's the question of sustainability: consumers want cheap energy - and espe-cially cheap oil, which helps to set the prices of all other commodities. But the same peo-ple want their energy to be clean. That's a contradiction politicians must grapple with. Renewables can provide clean power and there is no doubt that their con-tribution to energy supply is valuable and Energy: a growing business Notwithstanding the temporary dip in energy demand caused by the recession of 2008 and 2009, consumption could be nearly half as big again as it is today by 2030, says the International Energy Agency ( IEA), a multi-government think tank. Why? Because the population's growing rapidly. And we all want energy: if you're at university, perhaps you've just passed your driving test. But do you know someone who's planning to stop driving to give you space on the roads? No. You'll probably buy a home soon too - for which you'll need light, power and heat. No- one else will switch off his or her refrigerator, radiators, air- conditioning or television to make room for yours. So as the population grows and econ-omies grow, energy use will grow too. In fact, energy is inextricably linked to eco-nomic growth: the biggest oil consumer in the world, the US, is also the world's big-gest economy. The countries with the small-estper capita oil consumption are typically the poorest. We might have taken our en-ergy for granted in the past. But no one can afford to do so now. ?? Despite its hefty reliance on technology, oil's not jut a science endeavour