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The Devil is in the Data: How Data Can Save The Oil and Gas Industry

Written by: Christopher Hanton, Ikon Science

The Devil is in The Data: The primary role of exploration and production departments is to maintain a healthy reserves inventory and to provide cost-effective exploration and production methods.

Mature fields around the world are reaching the end of their lifecycle and undergoing decommission. Many still active fields are moving to more marginal areas of pay, struggling to replace declining production rates as ‘sweet spots’ are expended.

In order to replace the decline in production, companies are placing increased importance on understanding the subsurface, identifying prime exploration opportunities and aiding in creating more effective production strategies. Scientific workflows enable us to generate this subsurface insight but in order to create these workflows the industry needs to utilize the other asset that it has in droves – data.

Subsurface data ranging in scale from seismic, to well logs, down to individual rock and fluid measurements have been acquired for roughly 100 years. In that time, the amount and variety of data acquired has increased exponentially.

The total volume of data created, captured, copied, and consumed in the world is staggering, and grows exponentially each year. Each day across the globe, we generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, a number so unfathomably large it quickly loses all meaning. In our own industry, at the height of activity in 2018, the US onshore drilling industry alone was responsible for over a petabyte of data creation daily.

In order to maintain growth in future years, the oil and gas industry faces a sizeable challenge to find innovative solutions that maximize productivity while battling rising costs and promoting long term business sustainability. Although inherently complex, the keys to success for an operator could be broadly grouped as Managing Costs, Maintaining and Growing Production and Providing Sustainability. All three of these key points require planning and alignment across the entire organization to be successful. But, how best to balance the requirements of conducting business today with a need to plan for the future?

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