OTC: Davidson traces route from 'impossible' to 'reality'

By OGJ editors
-- With perseverance and technology, the oil and gas industry advances by turning ideas once deemed impossible into reality, Chuck Davidson, chairman and chief executive officer of Noble Energy Inc., told a luncheon audience May 4 at the Offshore Technology Conference.

For example, Davidson said, the industry discovered how to drill and complete wells profitably in the Barnett shale then expanded into other shale plays by applying an aggressive attitude he described as “lease it, and ask questions later.”

Development of unconventional oil and gas reservoirs, he said, shows how the industry can turn problems “truly viewed as impossible into stunning reality.”

A North American gas supply structure that is “radically changing” because of shale-gas development was among key industry changes Davidson addressed.

Others were a shift in operators’ emphasis from gas to oil drilling in the US, improved producer access to capital, a “long, long list” of recent oil and gas discoveries, and reassessment by oil and gas companies of traditional business models.

Technology, creativity, and a “belief in possibility” combine to form a “new reality,” he said.

Discoveries are rewarding companies that have taken advantage of recently elevated oil and gas prices to test new exploration and development concepts in what Davidson called “R&D drilling.”

An example other than unconventional gas developments is the Lower Tertiary play in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. It’s a challenging play that developed from “never taking the status quo as a given,” Davidson said. Referring to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and oil spill, he acknowledged, “[W]e do live under a dark cloud this year.”

Davidson spoke at a luncheon at which OTC gave an individual distinguished-achievement award to Hugh Elkins, retired from National Oilwell Varco Inc. who worked for many years with Hydril, and a corporate award to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Enterprise Field Services for their work on Independence Hub in the Gulf of Mexico.

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