The oil and gas industry may have experienced a downfall over the past few years, but fossil fuels still remain our most widespread energy source. As such, operators and contractors need to continue innovating and developing new ways of moving the industry forward. Below are three key issues that the onshore oil and gas industry will face over the next couple of decades:

Development of New Technologies

As the world's energy demand continues to rise, technological changes will be required in order to ensure that this energy demand can be matched with sufficient supply. One of the main changes that will occur in onshore pipelines is the introduction of long-distance conduits for carrying natural gas. The design and manufacture of these pipelines are being carried out presently, but there will be continued growth in this area over the next few decades.

In order to facilitate long-distance natural gas transfer, there will have to be major changes into the design and manufacture of onshore pipelines. To ensure the integrity of the pipelines, contractors and operators will need to develop materials with higher strength and toughness than those currently available on the market. To keep costs low, companies will need to ensure that these new materials are lightweight and don't require significant maintenance. In order to satisfy both criteria, it is likely that long-distance pipelines will be constructed using composite materials that are man-made structures utilizing the best properties of different base materials.

Investment in the Workforce

In order to facilitate the construction of high-tech long-distance pipelines in the future, a highly skilled workforce will be required. From material scientists to health and safety supervisors, pipeline engineers to fluid dynamic specialists, the onshore pipeline industry will need to invest heavily in its workforce.

Unfortunately, many skilled workers have been forced to leave the pipeline industry due to the recent crash in oil price. These workers have transitioned into other fields and may be reluctant to move back into the onshore natural gas industry due to a fear of a similar crisis occurring down the line. As such, it is imperative that energy companies and engineering contractors take steps to ensure that they can guarantee their workforce continued employment in order to maintain skilled employees for future projects.

Similarly, companies need to invest heavily in young people across the globe. A significant number of the natural gas pipelines built in the next couple of decades will be constructed in developing countries. To ensure the quality and ongoing integrity of these developments, it is important that operators and contractors invest heavily in these areas.

Mitigating Environmental Impact

Climate change and environmental impact has been one of the major points of debate over the past decade or so, and this will continue to be the case going forward. The exploration, production and transportation of natural gas has often been considered a "dirty" process that has major impact on the earth's environment. In order to mitigate these concerns, it is imperative that operators and contractors take action as soon as possible.

Fossil fuels, by their nature, are not environmentally friendly sources of energy. As such, measures have to be put in place to ensure that leakages do not occur and that the installation of new pipelines does not have a detrimental effect on surrounding ecosystems. Similarly, there will be pressure on companies to modernize ageing assets such that they can operate safely and efficiently. This will be a major challenge for the industry, but by investing in their technology and workforce, companies can put in place procedural measures to mitigate the environmental impact of their development projects.

To learn more about the industry, contact services like Saddle Operating LLC.