INDUSTRY

RESOURCES

INTRODUCTION

Resource industries have always been significantly impacted by new technologies, each requiring a workforce with different skillsets. This impact occurs in three areas:

INCREASED SUPPLY

New technologies have been used to increase the proven reserves of different resources – by enabling extraction at increased depth (the primary reason that ‘peak oil’ concerns were never valid), or by improved extraction technologies, such as the introduction of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and horizontal drilling, which is turning the US from a major importer of oil into oil self-sufficiency.

RESOURCE SUBSTITUTION

As supply-demand ratios change, some resources are replaced by others. So lighting went from requiring whale oil to kerosene to electricity. Currently, environmentally-friendly sources of energy (solar, wind, etc.) are reducing the demand for electricity. In the next few years, the demand for gasoline to power vehicles will be decimated by the use of electric motors.

IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY

When considering the demand for human labour, increased supply causes an increase, often requiring new skills; resource substitution usually requires new skills, but may not cause an increase or decrease in demand; and improved productivity causes a reduction in demand, especially if the overall demand for the resource does not increase materially. All of the active technologies tracked by this website impact the resource industry:

  • Additive manufacturing is producing spare parts needed in remote areas.
  • AI is enabling autonomous mining equipment (such as haul trucks and drilling machines), helping to discover new mineral deposits, and increasing ore extraction.
  • Blockchain is being used to share energy among consumers.
  • Drones are inspecting oil and gas pipelines, and offshore oil rigs.
  • Robots are working underwater to fix pipelines, and checking the safety of mine-shafts.

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REVIEW THESE INFORMATIVE ARTICLES - AND READ THOSE THAT INTEREST YOU

Drones to be used for high-risk inspections of oil and gas facilities (Drone/Oil & Gas - 2017-12 - Technology.org)

GE Ventures’ Avitas Systems will focus on utilizing robotics and AI for the inspection of oil and gas facilities, which is dangerous for the inspectors, very costly, and time-consuming. Drones can handle the high temperatures, which avoids shutting down production for the inspection.

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A drone that can switch between flying and rolling could soon be exploring underground mines without the aid of a human pilot (Drone/Mining Exploration - 2017-10 - New Scientist)

In open air, drones navigate autonomously using GPS, which doesn’t penetrate deep underground. So robot spelunkers require human pilots. A Swedish company, Inkonova, is developing an alternative positioning method. Using laser scanners and SLAM, a technology that calculates the distance between the drone and nearby objects, it quickly builds a map of its environment. The firm’s new autonomous drone combines the map with sensor input to position and move itself. When it encounters unusually shaped space, it uses wheels to move along the ground and tilt to fly or roll at an angle.

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Flying fish: An amphibious drone that travels underwater (Drone/Water - 2017-10 - Technology.org)

A team at Johns Hopkins University created a drone, UAAV – an unmanned aerial-aquatic vehicle, that can travel underwater. The Flying Fish is propelled in the air and under the water by a single motor and propeller. The Flying Fish could fly autonomously at 48 km/h to land in the water, dive in to collect environmental data, then fly back to its base.

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Blockchain technology used for energy sharing (Blockchain/Power Sharing - 2017-09 - ZDNet)

Australian energy retailer Origin has partnered with Perth-based blockchain startup Power Ledger to trial an energy sharing platform that uses blockchain technology to create an immutable record of energy generation and consumption. The trial will investigate the viability of consumers buying and selling energy to and from their neighbors.

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The death of the oil industry (AI/Oil & Gas - 2017-05 - Medium.com)

The transformation of the transportation sector over the next 8 years will cause the bankruptcy of blue-chip companies like Exxon Mobil and General Motors, and directly impact over $10 trillion in economic output. The fundamental reason is that the drive-train for an internal combustion engine has about 2,000 parts, while that for an electric engine is only about 20. The average life comparison will be 150,000 miles to 500,000 miles, which will be less than the life of the electric car’s battery! And then the advent of self-driving cars, projected to occur in less than 5 years, will make personal car ownership far too expensive! The demand for oil will be restricted to the heavy oil needed for tarring roads and powering ships.

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A leaner oilpatch emerges as technology replaces jobs (AI/Oil & Gas - 2017-03 - CTVNews)

The growth of automation and other labour-saving efficiencies could hold back many jobs from returning if the economic recovers. For example, shale drilling used to require 30 rig hands operating diesel pumps, using headsets to synchronize the throttle and pressure needed to break apart the rock formations and free the trapped crude. Now that job is done by two people sitting inside a control van.

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