What drives innovation in the upstream hydrocarbon industry?

Jeffrey B. Thurston and Robert R. Stewart

ABSTRACT

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the pace of technology development in the exploration and development (E&D) industry quickens in response to the necessity for cutting costs when commodity prices are low. Our review of the history of significant E&D technology advancements leads us to believe this model dos not adequately explain previous technology cycles. Rather, we suggest clusters of E&D innovations have been a response to demand pull and/or technology push. This perspective points to a current confluence of favorable drivers. Historically, alignments like this have fostered technological booms that have led to diffusion of some of the industry's most important technologies.

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