An undated handout photo of a Skycatch quadcopter, which can locate malfunctioning panels at solar power plants. Drones from Skycatch and more established companies are monitoring power lines, inspecting oil and gas pipelines, checking wind turbines for defects and pinpointing malfunctioning solar panels. (Christian Sanz/Skycatch via The New York Times) -- NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH STORY SLUGGED ENERGY DRONES BY TODD WOODY. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED. --

Drones and data could dominate future oil fields

Oil companies are increasingly turning to the tech industry for nontraditional ideas that could help them cut costs.
Categories: featured, Technology
Kirk Coburn, founder and managing director of Surge Ventures, introduces speakers at an event for Houston tech entrepreneurs seeking inroads into the oil and gas industry. ( Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle )

Tough times in oil patch raise prospects for tech startups

The collapse in crude prices is fueling an appetite for new ideas to produce oil more efficiently, positioning Houston entrepreneurs for a boom of their own
A well is drilled at an Apache Energy site in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas, Feb. 14, 2012. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

Shale tech could squeeze 141 billion barrels from oil fields outside the US

Adapting the technology that powered the shale oil boom in Texas to the deserts of Saudi Arabia and elsewhere could free 141 billion barrels of crude, research firm IHS said Thursday.
The concrete walls on BP's new computing center are made to look like seismic images. (Zain Shauk/Houston Chronicle)

Exec at OTC: For BP, big data ups production by nearly 300,000 barrels a day

Over the past two years, BP has built ties to a major technology company and is developing 10 major projects across the company that use big data analytics to corral the massive streams of information gushing from its oil fields.
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Rebuilding the Nation’s Aging Energy Network

Once the envy of the modern world, the nation’s infrastructure system now works overtime just to keep up with the growing needs of the energy grid. While many understand the need for continued investment in roads and bridges, the same cannot be easily said of the nation’s aging energy infrastructure. This network of pipelines, highways, […]
James Dupree, BP’s chief operating officer of resource development and technology, speaks during the Offshore Technology Conference at the NRG Center in Houston in May 2015.

Collaboration with Silicon Valley key to wrangling oil field data, BP exec says

The oil industry will have to harness the power of Silicon Valley and academia if it wants to learn how to wrangle terabytes of oil field data surging through fiber optic cables from the Eagle Ford Shale to Azerbaijan, a BP executive said Monday.
Categories: OTC, Technology
Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, speaks during the IHS CERAWeek conference at Hilton Americas - Houston Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Houston. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle)

CERAWeek: Siemens CEO Kaeser still up on U.S. oil industry

Even after nine months of plunging crude prices, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser says he still believes the U.S. oil industry is “pretty cool.”
(Offshore Technology Conference)

OTC panel to talk big ideas on fifth day of programming

Organizers described the lineup as more like South by Southwest or X-Games than an industry conference.

A Bright Future for Renewable Energy

During the preceding decade, adoption of renewable technologies experienced rapid growth. This advancement is in response to new technologies, available energy storage, policy changes, and greater investment in renewable sources. Renewables, solar and wind power especially, have far surpassed coal and natural gas in industry growth. According to an article in the Washington Post, energy […]
Ryan Allen, product line manager for Baker Hughes, holds a disintegrating frac ball, which is made of controlled electrolytic metallic nanoconstructed material. It is one part of Baker Hughes' shadow frac plug, which eliminates a step in the traditional plug-and-perforate method of stimulating oil wells. When it dissolves in the well bore, it allows  hydrocarbons to flow to the surface. (Collin Eaton/Houston Chronicle)

Adversity stirs innovation at hydraulic fracturing conference

About 90 companies and more than 2,100 engineers and corporate representatives will gather at the Woodlands hydraulic fracturing conference this week to show off new technologies they hope will save oil companies money after the second-biggest collapse in crude prices in three decades.