“Big Data” Empowering Unconventional Resource Plays
Since its inception data has been the basis of the petroleum industry. Oil and gas exploration and development has always been about knowing where to look and where exactly to drill. Oil and gas geosciences have been pursing big data before “big data” was big. In the first decade of the 21st century, “big data” burst upon the scene, while horizontal drilling and fracture stimulation have been around for decades. What has created successful exploration and development of unconventional resources is smart exploration, drilling and completion. Integrated geologic and geophysical analysis provides the map that lets one know where to drill, while down-hole real-time sensors tell one where to steer the well within the correct zone. The latest technologies of micro-seismic and fiber-optics tell one where and how to complete. The bottom line is that a drilling rig has become a mass of sensors and computers with a drill bit attached to one end. Increased usage in subsurface geology of data from sensors and operational data gathering devices has significantly increased the amount of unstructured data. Oil and gas has long handled massive volumes of structured data such as 3D seismic, what is the new challenge is development of tools to handle new types of unstructured data or to integrate diverse structured and unstructured data sets from diverse geologic disciplines. Exploration and development of unconventional resources requires integration of “big data” within traditional models and approaches to geologic analysis. We provide several examples from the Marcellus and Utica mudrock plays of the northern Appalachian basin to illustrate low-cost technologies to store, query, and analyze large and diverse data sources and new data types much of which is found outside of the company's firewall. Integration involving more diverse unstructured, semi-structured and structured data can lead to a better understanding of unconventional resource plays and provide predictive exploration and development models for unconventional resources that often span multiple countries, states and hundreds of kilometers.
AAPG Datapages/Search and Discovery Article #90216 ©2015 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, CO., May 31 - June 3, 2015