The role and challenge of Big Data in the Oil & Gas Sector

The problem of Big Data

The oil and gas sector is no different to any other industry – it is overwhelmed by more analytics than it can possibly cope with. Big Data may seem like a term coined in management conferences – but, in reality, it is as much of a challenge to oil and gas as elsewhere. The rewards that might come from harnessing its potential are high – but so are the difficulties in making this a reality.

The exploration, production and delivery of oil and gas supplies is complex. The Big Data produced might not be the overwhelming influx of information of a single customer view from sale, with information on buying tendencies or on sentiments. Instead, there is an increasing volume and velocity of data related to the technical delivery of the product from the ground to the market.

There are the models of the earth that show areas of potential exploration, there is the information coming from each device in the exploration and production process, there is a million and one pieces of data that help managers understand the market.

There is great power in harnessing this data – but there is an issue of capacity and issue of integration. How can the data produced in one area – such as from an engineer working in the field – be channelled into other areas – such as software designers or even human resource managers?

The need for effective data analytics

The oil and gas sector has not been slow in understanding the importance of data. It has focused in recent times on the use of technology to integrate data. There is software developed now that draws data from all the major disciplines – helping to speed up workflow. In many respects, oil and gas is no different to any other area where there is a complex supply chain management process. When all the data is drawn into a single piece of software that crosses specialisms and even different businesses in the delivery of gas and oil to market – then efficiencies can be found throughout the chain.

The need for real-time data analytics

The next challenge for the oil and gas sector is to find a means of responding to this data in real-time. The issue of Big Data is not just about the amount of information available but also the speed by which it goes out of date. This means that alongside petrophysical, geophysical and engineering analysts – data scientists need to play a part in oil and gas too.

These data scientists will be responsible for automating responses to data changes, removing the time taken for human analysis and decision-making to take place. The harder decisions will always need human intervention – to judge risk and consider results. However, the simpler every day activities should be able to be triggered by the data being fed into the software.

Why search for data best practice?

The revenue and profits in the oil and gas sector are high. However, the level of risk is equally astronomical. Data needs to be used to reduce this risk. Risk is inherent in the sector because new supplies of oil and gas are hard to find; oil, in particular, is expensive to produce and the potential for damage to the environment and to the human safety are high. Each of these areas of risk can be mitigated by harnessing Big Data, effectively using analytics and automation.

Producing data of high accuracy and quality for our customers is a high priority for Exiflow and that is why we developed our flow measurement computer to accurately measure flow and produce easy to access data. To speak to us about how we can help you, call +44 (0)1243 554920 or contact us here.