Mining Data as the New Oil: Why Integration is Key to Enhancing O&G Outcomes

“Things can change so fast on the Internet” –Tim Berners Lee

While the above is certainly true, today internet itself has been changing at an unprecedented pace for things! As the Internet of Things (IoT) revolutionalizes every imaginable business in the world, the oil and gas (O&G) industry finds itself at a digital tipping point. The promise of IoT striving to address its upstream challenges, lies in integrating data across its multiple disparate assets. This will ensure a holistic view of operations and optimize processes. Driven by globally increasing energy demand, dynamic geopolitical forces and scarcity of natural resources, the O&G industry is witnessing fierce competition. In addition, there is a pressing need to improve oil and gas reservoir performance to ensure higher margins and sustainable growth. While industry experts realize that data integration is the answer to better oil and gas modelling, the myriad challenges impede smooth implementation of integration solutions.

The Serious Challenges of Upstream Businesses

Given the global cash-strapped economy we have today, the challenge for the O&G industry is magnified due to its dwindling skilled human capital. An unprecedented shortage of trained personnel is giving rise to what is popularly called the “greying of the oil industry”. As many as 88% of human resource managers at the world’s top O&G companies citing talent shortage as a critical challenge impeding the industry’s overall financial growth and performance. This scenario further amplifies the need for O&G companies to embrace data digitization to maximize efficiencies with a smaller, younger workforce. Other specific challenges include:

  • Large disparate datasets that cannot be mined to provide industrial-quality insight unless integrated across the O&G lifecycle for a holistic view. Current data collection processes in the industry work in silos.
  • Multi-disciplinary data including that from geology, hydraulics, electronics, navigation, and other units. No dataset can be viewed in isolation and each dataset requires specialized knowledge to be interpreted and used in the right way.
  • Exploding data volume giving rise to the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack problem. When it comes to finding relevant information for any particular decision, the corresponding dataset makes up only a small fraction of the humongous data mass.

The Benefits in Implementing Data Integration Services in O&G Domain

While the past five decades have seen the O&G industry adapting to an array of cutting-edge technological advances such as geophones, satellites, and robots, the usage of almost all of these technologies is limited to an asset level. Integration across disciplines is down to an almost negligible level in the industry. Current estimates reveal that only 1% of the information gathered from about 30,000 separate data points is being made available to key decision makers in the O&G industry. If data integration services are implemented with rigorous control standards in place, the industry can garner gains in production efficiency by up to 6 to 8%. . Other specific benefits of integrated data solutions in oilfields include:

  • Production optimization: Integrating all the well plans and reservoir data sets helps O&G companies optimize reservoir and well performance, thereby boosting overall facility efficiency.
  • Comprehensive data integration framework: It enables strong competitive advantage by leveraging data analytics to improve overall asset performance, enhance efficiencies, compress costs, and mitigate risks.
  • Improving health, safety, and environment management: With tightening regulatory landscape, the O&G industry is moving towards zero tolerance for health, safety, and environment accidents. Effective data integration ensures automated production control, periodic monitoring of the equipment condition, and predictive shutdown to prevent or mitigate risks. The same can be applied even in geographically dispersed remote operations to ensure seamless operations.

The Integration Imperative

The current paradigm shift in O&G operations, underpinned by transformative digitization makes for a clear competitive imperative in integrating data across the O&G value chain. Successfully implementing data integration services will be a key success enabler in creating O&G companies with an eye on the future.

Written by Quest Global

on 03 Apr 2018