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How big data is changing the oil and gas industry

January 2013

Master big data to optimize the oil and gas lifecycle

Unleashing the power of data with information management and analytics (IM&A) solutions can enable oil and gas firms to use information strategically to reduce time to first oil, lower operating costs, and improve all areas of the oil and gas lifecycle.

Understanding and leveraging data in the upstream business segment enables firms to remain competitive throughout planning, exploration, delineation, and field development. The downstream segment depends on data to maximize production with regard to maintenance and forecasting. Fortunately, oil and gas companies have access to an abundance of valuable data in both upstream and downstream operations. Unfortunately, this information comes in various and increasingly complex forms, making it a challenge for energy firms to collect, interpret, and leverage the disparate data.

IM&A solutions integrate common and disparate data sets to deliver the right information at the appropriate time to the correct decision- maker. These capabilities help companies act on large volumes of data, transforming decision-making from reactive to proactive and optimizing all phases of exploration, development, and production.

IM&A solutions can benefit oil and gas firms by:

  • Reducing time to first oil
  • Increasing the productivity of assets across their lifecycles
  • Applying advanced business intelligence and embedded analytics
  • Ensuring the right information is available to the workforce at the right time
  • Improving planning and forecasting results

Recognizing patterns in unstructured data
One way to accelerate decision-making is to link unstructured and structured data together to enhance pattern recognition that can improve the optimization of oil and gas operations. For example, real-time data inputs can be compared against patterns mined from a historical database through base analytics or enhanced visualization techniques. Companies are able to identify issues and root causes in massive volumes of information, then identify and implement appropriate actions that will treat the cause upon detecting the pattern, rather than waiting for a crisis to trigger action.

Exploration
The challenge in exploration is to provide quick, seamless, and automated access to structured and unstructured seismic data for geophysical interpretation. This linkage enables geotechnical professionals to understand the context in which seismic surveys were conducted, and it makes supplementary information available in real time to support the decision-making process. Additional benefits are gained when well master data is integrated with unstructured information. Correlating seismic and well production data is critical to enabling unified production and profitability analysis.

Integrating and potentially mobilizing this information helps oil and gas firms optimize processes by providing collaborative information and integrating seismic data management with unstructured information. This supports data preservation, data quality, data accessibility, and real-time process refresh.

For clients performing seismic studies, HP has gone a step further—supporting high fidelity seismic data capture by incorporating HP accelerometers. These wireless self-powered accelerometers provide greater density of information, which results in increased visibility and clarity to support geotechnical analysis.

Development
Development phase optimization includes overall asset development, product lifecycle management, and asset lifecycle management techniques—with a focus on reducing the duration of the development cycle. Optimizing the supply chain in support of development phase activities includes capturing and validating information for drilling, well development, facilities development, topsides development, geophysical data, and security efforts related to the access of control data. IM&A supports analysis of data by following or leveraging client or industry-based standards. Compliance with standards ensures information management capabilities are implemented and supportable over the long term.

While current IM&A offerings can deliver strong benefits, HP is working with clients to expand on the results and potential. HP is piloting the deployment of additional sensing capabilities during the drilling process, which would allow more detailed subsurface information to be gathered and correlated with information originating from control and historian systems. Enhanced benefits from the initial results include:

  • Provisioning of additional data that supports flow rate analysis
  • Capturing out-of-bounds activities during well phase completion
  • Establishing a broader information base for use in pattern recognition of undesired events

HP leverages information gathered at the development site to enhance results obtained during the drilling process. Using complex algorithms that correlate multiple information sources, clients can identify signatures and patterns associated with undesirable results. Information is then fed back into automated or manual control processes to either capture potential events in real time or address needed process changes to avoid suboptimal results.

Production
HP’s experienced IM&A professionals help clients focus on uptime and production optimization for both upstream and downstream operations. Oil and gas companies can identify appropriate signatures through the use of HP-developed algorithms to analyze information from multiple control systems and data historians. These algorithms are then implemented in appropriate real-time control systems to act automatically, or support manual processes for intervention or process change.

Around the world, HP works with clients to optimize results such as uptime with condition-based maintenance techniques involving the linkage and analysis of real-time operating data with asset maintenance and inspection data. The increased use of mobility solutions, whether based on common mobile devices or sophisticated machine-to-machine systems, provides another set of potential data streams for either analysis or condition-based monitoring activities.

In support of this, the trend toward an integrated operations model—providing common, standardized data for improved processes and enhancing the ability to detect, analyze, and show trends in operational data aberrations—helps to significantly facilitate optimizing uptime. For example, by leveraging a predictive/preventative model, oil and gas companies can better determine if a piece of equipment is degrading or requires inspection or maintenance, or should have its primary duty changed based on fatigue or power cycles.

Compliance and incident response
The increased web of local, state, and federal regulations that change and mature with increasing activity of nonconventional assets has increased compliance requirements across the oil and gas lifecycle. Documentation and the ability to show traceability across structured and unstructured information help demonstrate what activity happened and when, so it is clear when the energy firm has completed the steps necessary to avoid incidents, mitigate impacts, resolve problems, and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Comprehensive IM&A solutions for the oil and gas industries
To become one of tomorrow’s market leaders, oil and gas firms must unlock the value within the huge amounts of data they have. HP can help these companies leverage the power of technology to capitalize on, not simply adapt to, challenges involving the management of this wealth of information. By implementing robust operational data stores for structured and unstructured information combined with powerful analytics platform capabilities designed to handle large volumes of streaming and historical data, firms can reduce time to oil and improve operational results.

HP works with oil and gas clients to reduce costs across the value chain by mining, collecting, and correlating historical data to determine the root cause of operational inefficiencies. The IM&A portfolio extends from up-front enterprise information management consulting to implementation of IM&A solutions at the enterprise level. HP integrates its algorithmic analysis capabilities from HP Labs and Enterprise Services with the HP Vertica platform for real-time structured data analytics and HP Autonomy for optimizing unstructured data analytics.

Read the Industry Edge Oil & Gas Edition e-zine to learn how technology is helping this industry overcome the challenges of remote and difficult-to-access resources, find meaning in the avalanche of data, and manage the layers of risk inherent in the extraction process.

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© Copyright 2012 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.

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