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The Value of Information

Melanie McQuinn
IHS Energy, Houston, TX

Data are the basis for virtually all decisions. From reconnaisance to production, the availability, timeliness and quality of information remain the limiting factor in making sound decisions. Information is used to evaluate and quantify risk, both geologic and economic, to reduce uncertainties, to increase confidence levels, and finally to propose the best choice among competing alternatives. The particular datasets needed, and the relative merit of the underlying data, depend on the nature and scale of the problem. Quality is defined as the extent to which data meets user's needs. Metadata are key in determining this suitabilility. Probability of success is controlled by the presence or lack of relevant data, and how that data is assimilated into a coherent model. The reality is that reliably organized, qualified data are generally sparse.

The value of the information handling service, thus, is in the persistent and relentless pursuit and collection of data, and the efficient integration or accumulation of this data into coherent and meaningful information. The service generates value by maximizing the yield of data from all available sources, through the processes of data conversion, extraction, compilation, and entry. Other methodologies, including iterative audit, ensure that the regional foundation is secure, and that all identified gaps are incrementally filled. Through consolidation of multiple datasets, a comprehensive knowledge base is maintained, with the aim of providing the “best available” information. The composite dataset, thus, remains perpetually in a dynamic state of refinement, and as such, the value of this service is continuously renewed.