XTO President Credits Technology For Success

FORT WORTH, Texas — Technology “has been the common denominator” that has powered the oil and gas industry to its current status in the world’s economy and will be vital for its future, according to the president of ExxonMobil’s XTO Energy Inc. unit.

“Think about the ingenuity and tenacity that it has taken to develop technological solutions to tackle” the industry’s challenges, said Sara Ortwein at an IPAA Leaders In Industry Luncheon July 27 at the Fort Worth Petroleum Club. Oil and gas have created “innovations that have transformed our nation and the world for the better,” she said.

The industry’s technology can be credited for U.S. job growth and economic opportunities, “and it unleashed a manufacturing renaissance, particularly along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Chemical plants are expanding due to low feedstock costs, for the first time in many years.”

Ortwein reviewed “the extraordinary changes, the transformation, that I have seen over the past, nearly 40 years” since she began her career at Exxon Co. USA. in 1980. She recalled that Exxon’s first horizontal well—all of a 500-ft lateral—was drilled in 1983 in the Austin Chalk.

“The well was dry,” she added with a chuckle but was viewed as a technological marvel at the time. Compare that with horizontal laterals in North America that go out for thousands of feet, or as long as eight miles in one Russian test, “and when we do we can hit something the size of a pitcher’s mound. It’s really phenomenal.”

SOURCE: Oil & Gas Investor

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