Ten Reasons why Data Drives the Oilfield

Oil and gas exploration has always been difficult, complex and costly—recognized as a process that depends upon vast amounts of data to guide decisions, processes and production. Today new supply sources, such as deep water wells, shale booms or the oil sands, are building on this legacy. And above that, companies are now focused on tapping into more unconventional and remote energy sources, which in turn necessitates even greater data capture to realize its full potential.


As the number of realtime data sources grow, so does the importance of the data itself

The advanced processes of oil and gas exploration and production today generate a tremendous amount and variety of data such as seismic information, machinery performance, geographic modeling, environmental conditions, oil flow rates and pressures. It is important to note that as the number of realtime data sources grow, so does the importance of the data itself. To capture maximum business value from this data, service providers are relying more and more on intelligent embedded systems to transform standalone data processes into connected systems. These high-performance systems must be built to withstand rough handling and provide 24/7 operation in extreme environmental conditions ranging from the Arctic cold to desert heat.



By 2017, 100 percent of the top 25 oil and gas companies will apply modeling and simulation tools

As a result, system investments are growing steadily. For example, industry analyst oilprice.com anticipates subsea technology development spending, which includes computing and IT support equipment, to increase as much as five times its current level (to $130 billion annually) by 2020. IDC Energy Insights predicts that by 2017, 100 percent of the top 25 oil and gas companies will apply modeling and simulation tools and services to optimize oil field development programs and that as many as 25 percent will require these tools in order to compete. The industry itself is making monumental progress by incorporating computers and sensors that take equipment control and data processing to the next level.


For this blog, I will summarize ten of the most important facts, why data drives the oilfield:

  1. As simply as it sounds: Oil and gas companies need every bit of insight they can collect.

  2. Sophisticated, real-time analytics provide a tangible competitive asset.

  3. According to one oil and gas service provider, mature oil fields provide more than 70 percent of the world’s oil and gas. Many of the same fields are in second and third phases of production— the more accessible oil and gas have been extracted, and more sophisticated computing technologies are required to extend the life of these aging fields.

  4. Data provides the tools to, for example, analyze high definition seismic imaging.

  5. What used to take decades to examine and understand is now adding production value in a matter of weeks.

  6. Used for applications such as data acquisition, control room management, exploration and wellhead monitoring, these systems help create a safer and more productive environment.

  7. By connecting field staff with world-renowned experts, oil producers can make informed critical decisions based on the evaluation of easily accessible, real-time data.

  8. Consider a basic operational activity such as equipment maintenance—with data collected from sensors on pumps and wells, operators can adjust repair schedules and act preemptively to prevent system failure.

  9. Anticipating costs and production needs becomes a science, based on accurate, real-time data that allows service providers to employ modeling techniques to predict costs, production volumes and equipment.

  10. The data can be used to optimize pricing, and improve safety with advance knowledge of equipment issues or changes in drilling conditions.

If you want to know more about oil and gas data acquisition, click here to receive our whitepaper.

Perhaps you can think of even more reasons why data drives the oilfield?! Feel free to comment!

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