- Jan 4, 2022 5:19 pm GMT
Today, the energy transition casts a huge shadow over exploration’s future. Spend on exploration and appraisal is already less than one-third of the 2014 peak and exploration departments have been shrinking relentlessly, some closed forever. The proliferation of corporate name changes reflects an understanding that there’s an image problem – there is still a 20th-century feel about the industry.
How Exploration Can Adapt?
- Geoscientists themselves will be part of the solution.
- Geoscience must be shored up in universities and colleges. More focus towards hard (non-sedimentary) rocks, in anticipation of the massive boom in mining for transition metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt and iron ore.
- There are the emerging low-carbon technologies in which geoscientists will play a key role. Geothermal has clear synergies
- CCS could be the biggest opportunity for oil and gas geoscientists. CCS works almost in reverse to oil and gas extraction – CO2 is pumped into a depleted reservoir or saline aquifer.
- Underground hydrogen storage (UHS) is another technology with steep growth potential.
The curtain isn’t coming down on soft-rock geoscientists. These new opportunities might lack some of the romance of oil and gas discovery that captivated many of us in the past. But they are critical to the sustainable energy future in which geoscientists will play a key part.
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