Forecaster: Soheil Asgarpour, President, PTAC

It’s very difficult to predict what can be a breakthrough technology. There have been many breakthrough technologies that, even when they were developed, no one thought they would become practical technologies. Rather I expect to see more meshing of existing technologies – putting two or more technologies together to create something new. This will include hybrid technologies from a number of different industries, including photonics, nanotechnology, geomatics and others.

The result will be the creation of relevant oil and gas technologies that will shift Canada’s oil and gas industry toward being more technology-based, rather than resource based. The oil and gas industry traditionally has been driven by natural resources, by finding new deposits. Already we see that changing, particularly in horizontal drilling technologies in the U.S. and now Canada.

The challenges the oil and gas industry faces are not of equal difficulty: some will take only a few years to overcome, and some will take much longer. In the short term we can expect to see projects that enhance steam-assisted gravity drainage operations, primarily technologies that reduce steam-to-oil ratios. In the longer term, SAGD operations will be more efficient in their electricity consumption and will incorporate electric heating. With more sophisticated technologies coming online, I see technology taking an increasingly central role in the energy sector.

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As told to Jesse Snyder

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