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Drilling Breakthroughs: Leaving Less Oil Behind

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While the debate about fracking rages on, new breakthroughs in drilling technology are bringing more barrels of domestic oil to the surface. In 2015, U.S. oil production was expected to average 9.5 million barrels per day, an increase over 2014's total and another sign that past panic about domestic oil shortages was premature. The focus on other, less controversial oil drilling practices can only help keep the oil flowing at home while keeping gas prices down. If you are invested in the oil business, you should consider investigating some of the following innovative practices. 

Solar Oil Fields

For those of you torn between concern for the environment and worry about dependence on foreign oil, the solar oil field may give you peace of mind. An environmentally friendly enhanced oil recovery method (EOR), the solar field harnesses the sun's power to heat steam that is pumped into oil wells. This process forces the oil to where the drills can reach it. When solar panels are used, drillers are not burning massive amounts of fuel to get more fuel. The process is economically and environmentally sound. 

Microbial EOR

This technology harnesses "friendly" microbes and uses them to break down heavy oils. Once the organisms are injected into the wells, they are given an incubation period so they can replicate. The more they "breed," the more effective the system is. The oil turns to methane and is then pumped into wells to push out lighter oil, allowing drillers to get much more fuel out of the wells. Although the concept has been around since the 1950s, it has only recently been used as a test case in Malaysia. The results there were astounding, producing a 47% increase in production over five months. Experts believe this technology may be a more difficult sell to current oil investors since it relies so much on biology and not the usual oil field sciences. 

Fracking is still a political landmine due to its use of large quantities of water and chemicals. Environmentalists have legitimate concerns about this method, so the battle is likely to continue for years to come. These alternative EORs are safer for the environment, and they contribute to the current healthy supply of domestic oil. As an oil investor, embracing these new technologies makes financial sense. In some instances, they may cost more to use than traditional methods, but they allow drillers to retrieve more oil without all of the legal issues fracking can bring. For a lookinto this method, take a look at grande prairie hd rentals oilfield.