104- www. world- petroleum. org 6.5- Understanding oil and gas Natural gas: explained Next time you boil a pot of pasta spare a thought for the stuff that's heating the wa-ter. If your hob lights up with a blue flame then you're one of the many millions in advanced countries who rely on natural gas for the ba-sics. You use an electric hob? Well, there's a good chance that the electricity is generated in a natural- gas- fired power station. As winter started to bite across east-ern Europe earlier this year, the question of where the gas comes from suddenly be-came a political topic as hot as that pot on your stove. For the best part of three freezing weeks in January 2009 the problem seemed insol-uble. Russia, home to almost a third of the world's natural gas reserves, and neighbour-ing Ukraine were bickering about gas prices again. Moscow said Ukraine was refusing to carry out its job of passing on Russian gas to customers in Europe and that the country owed Russia about $ 2 billion in back pay-ments. Kiev said Russia had deliberately charged punitively high prices for the gas. Gas shortages It was political and it got nasty - especially for anyone relying on the gas. Shortages quickly occurred in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Greece and Macedonia; some countries, such as Slovakia, experi-enced major falls in energy supplies. Russia accounts for about a third of the European Union's gas supply, so the conflict between the former Soviet states spread across the entire continent. Brussels, home of the European Union's leading politicians and bu-reaucrats, begged both sides to compromise. Eventually they did. By the time Moscow and Kiev had signed an agreement that enabled gas flows to resume, consumers across Europe had, once again, received a harsh reminder of just how heavily they depend on Russia to heat their pots of pasta, fire their power stations and factories, keep their economies ticking over and stay warm during the winter. People in rich, developed nations tend to take their energy supply for granted. But un-less you live in a country blessed with large reserves of oil and gas then you rely as much as the average eastern European on politics and politicians to keep the lights switched on. In fact, you don't just rely on politicians. You rely on an entire industry that is built on the task of putting oil and gas into pipe-lines and energy into your home. That might look simple on the surface: build a pipeline and fill it with gas. But financing and building pipelines is anything but easy - especially if they're routed across the sea, traverse more than one country or pass through ar-eas where sabotage might be a problem. Or if the costs run into the billions of dollars. Even if the governments of the countries that will host the pipeline can agree on a route, studies must be carried out to show that the project will not damage the environ- When do you find oil and when do you find gas? The type of hydrocarbons that will be found - assuming they're there at all - depends on pressure and temperature, which rise the deeper you go. Oil tends to be found within a certain temperature and pressure range - in which geologists re-fer to as the oil window. Typically, the oil window's 65- 150° C temperature range is found at depths of up to about 5 kilo-metres, although oil that's formed at one depth can later migrate into shallower rocks or move closer to the surface be-cause of erosion above it. Natural gas tends to form at higher temperatures and, therefore, at greater depths. ??
105- www. energy- future. com Profile - Katherine Smith Name: Katherine Smith Company: Tenaris Present job: Global trainee, process engineer Age: 25 Nationality: American Degree: Engineering management, Missouri University of Science and Technology Tenaris, a leading supplier of tubular prod-ucts and associated services to the oil and gas industry, hired me as a process engi-neer straight out of college. In 2008, I joined the Global Trainee Program for recent uni-versity graduates. During my first year, I have travelled throughout Tenaris' manufacturing net-work. I recently spent a month in Campana, Argentina, getting to know the main aspects of the company at the Induction Camp - a requirement for all new recruits. To con-tinue my training, I will be transferred to our seamless- tubes plant in Veracruz, Mexico, in a couple months. Since that plant has been part of Tenaris for a long time, many of the problems I may face at facilities in the US have already been solved. Being exposed to those solutions will help me implement change here. I am now based in a plant in Arkansas that manufactures welded pipes for drilling operations and for transporting oil and gas. The mill recently became part of Tenaris so we are still in a transitional phase. We have to go from a system that prioritises quan-tity to one focused on quality and safety. I've been given a role in some of our most im-portant projects; the workload's both chal-lenging and demanding. Helping manage the cultural shift from one system to another has been among the most interesting problems. How do you communi-cate the value of a new system to people ac-customed to the old way? Add in language and cultural barriers and it becomes even more challenging. Our main project is recording and ana-lysing our data more effectively to create a more efficient and safer industrial system at our facility. I'm working on verifying that our pipes are being made exactly in accordance with our customers' specifications. The precision required to make a uniform section of pipe is incredible and requires high- tech equipment. Some of our facilities have developed amazing systems to track and catalogue everything produced. In the US, we are introducing more so-phisticated ways of weighing, controlling and stenciling our tubular products for track-ing purposes. We're continually upgrading the technology and we'll gradually introduce those systems, capitalising on the accumu-lated know- how in the organisation. Improving production processes serves a double purpose. It helps ensure the safety of our employees and guarantees we comply with our customers' expectations for quality, reliable products, delivered on time. The implementation of these processes, which is part of a co- ordinated effort carried out in Tenaris' mills in more than 25 countries, will facilitate the entire supply chain process. Beyond the plant, there's a massive, global network - trucks, trains, boats - to move materials from plant to plant and to custom-ers. It's a taxing logistics operation. I've found that even in a big company, you can make a material difference, if you're in-sightful and think creatively. You have to find the non- obvious stuff and gain acceptance. Personally, I am interested in finding ways to make the plant more energy efficient. For a company to be successful, it must be dedi-cated to sustainable development. ??