--> Digital Transformation: The Opportunities and Challenges in Generating Value from Subsurface Data

AAPG Middle East Region GTW, Digital Subsurface Transformation

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Digital Transformation: The Opportunities and Challenges in Generating Value from Subsurface Data


Large, diverse data volumes and an inability to make efficient, productive use of this data has long been a challenge in the oil and gas industry. Equally, many of the data science techniques that are exciting the industry today are not new. What has changed is the emergence and commoditization of technologies and architectures that offer the potential for Exploration and Production companies to access and process this data in order to derive greater insights into their operations and to deliver business value. In parallel, if we look at recent industry history we see an operational intensity in the years preceding the oil price crash of 2014. During these boom years the order of the day was in getting data into domain centric applications and into the hands of geoscientists, drilling engineers and production engineers to allow operations to continue at breakneck pace. This period also witnessed a rapid growth in the volumes of data being generated. This can be attributed to the number of operational rigs and seismic crews, the new varieties of data being collected from new sensor technologies and the increased frequency of data transmissions. The downturn that followed has in turn led to cutbacks in both IT budgets and experienced staff. This perfect storm has laid bare the information management challenges that face the industry if is it to deliver on the promise that Digital Transformation offers. This presentation will focus on two broad opportunity areas and the associated data challenges. Firstly, the application of data science methods on data the industry has traditionally acquired, processed, interpreted and stored in a structured manner in order to accelerate and automate conventional work processes. Secondly, how to realize additional insights and value from ‘dark data’ which is typically unstructured and poorly managed in organizations today. The data management related challenges associated with realizing these goals are many. From the operational domain silos that have traditionally prevailed in oil and gas companies, to the implementation of infrastructure and technologies that address the constraints of existing systems and can scale to support the volume and performance that these next generation digital solutions require. Current processes and standards (or lack of) that govern the delivery, storage, quality control and reporting related to use of data throughout the enterprise will also need to be considered. These challenges apply within individual companies and across the industry as a whole. Realizing potential business benefits will require more than breaking down barriers between traditional operational silos, it will require a broader democratization of data across the industry.