I gave a talk the other day that detailed our technological accomplishments over the past 40-plus years. Those accomplishments are truly impressive. Snippets of the presentation are discussed below. You might find these a bit boring, for the technical revolutions of 20 years ago are ho-hum to most of us today. It’s what is around the corner that piques our interest. Therein lies the problem, for there might not be the major breakthroughs around the corner that we have become used to over the past few decades. And that results not so much from the lack of creativity, but from the lack of incentive, due to low oil prices and booming shale development. First, the good news. The major upstream technology boom began after the Second World War, when economies, particularly in the U.S., which was spared destruction on its shores, began to convert the huge industrial machine built to win the war into engines for economic growth. Those engines drove an unprecedented demand for oil and gas which, in turn, led to an explosion in upstream technology, to meet the exploding demand. That explosion, with a few lapses, has continued—actually increased—as the decades have sped by.
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