Even the most skilled business forecasters could not have foreseen the economic devastation brought about by a global pandemic and the corresponding restrictions and lockdowns. The global marketplace suffered deep losses across the board, but few niches were affected more than the oil and gas industry.
Oil and gas drive the world’s economies by fueling industry and related freight movement; on another level, regular people could not heat or cool their homes or get to work without access to natural gas or gasoline and diesel. While alternative power sources are becoming more prevalent, they have yet to attain the level of supply needed to replace fossil fuels, and it’s questionable if that’s even possible. Even though the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns around the world reduced trade and the demand for oil and gas, the need was still there.
Regardless of the ongoing need, this drop in demand led to huge financial losses for the industry as well as thousands of lost jobs. While many nations are slowly lifting restrictions and reopening, the demand for gas and oil has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Post-pandemic consumer behaviors and economic demands remain uncertain as COVID continues to be a threat in many countries. This uncertainty may have led many within and outside the industry to ask, “What does the future of oil and gas look like?”
Part of the answer may lie in the use of effective oil and gas data management.
Oil and Gas Data Management Present
The last year and a half have proven to be unpredictable. What was expected to be a strong economic year globally turned out to be a year of major downturns, layoffs, and financial losses. It’s unclear when the effects of COVID will dissipate, but a return to normalcy is expected eventually. Even with the increase of alternative and renewable energy sources, many experts agree that the demand for gas and oil will gradually return to pre-pandemic levels and see strong demand through to 2050.
To meet this expectation, oil and gas companies will need to continue their push to find new, cost-effective sources of oil and natural gas. New technologies that support and encourage the growth of the industry through big data management and analytics will play a significant role in this.
The industry has yet to gain a proper handle on the opportunities provided by the development of big data management. As oil and gas companies collect and sift through petabytes of data sets, the ability to properly filter, analyze, and store this information becomes an increasingly arduous and difficult task. With billion-dollar decisions being made upon this collected data, it is in the best interest of industry players to ensure that they are making decisions on all available, reliable data.
New solutions exist within oil and gas data management which are untapped. As the industry has shifted and evolved, better software has been developed alongside it which has the potential to streamline and raise its efficiency. Everything from finding new oil and gas reserves, to improving the drilling process, to project refinement, and the enhancement of future predictions can be done faster and easier with a new era of data management tech.
Generally, exploration companies within the oil and gas industry have been slow in adopting the technologies that allow for cloud-based big data management and analytics. Companies are unknowingly struggling to meet information demands, make better seismic drilling decisions, and cope with the multitude of data sequences compiled. This issue is most often the result being comfortable with what they already have, or simply not knowing that there are better options.
Without access to both accurate and rapidly updated information, it may be difficult for the industry to make cost-effective and data-backed decisions that are in their best interest. It is imperative for oil and gas companies to improve their data management processes in order to remain competitive with industry peers and adapt to the growing challenges with a shifting energy landscape.
Seismic Data Management
Seismic Data Management is key to successfully determining the best places to begin new drilling operations. The use of big data analytics will take the guesswork out of finding new drilling sites by providing current information to reduce exploration duration and costs.
Geological and geophysical data is collected from surveys around the globe, providing a steady stream of information that can be used to accurately predict where further research should be done. However, without powerful and adaptive software, it may take too long to sort through and analyze this data, leading to lost opportunities.
Today’s big data management technology rapidly and accurately process the new data coming in from seismic surveys. With developments in intuitive AI to vet and select data, geoscientists can use historical surveys to further narrow down the prospective sites. It can also provide accurate information as to the composition, volume and dimensions of the underlying reservoir.
Data Management elsewhere in the industry
Effective oil and gas data management continues to be an important asset once the optimum drilling site has been found. The data from the seismic surveys can be combined with the data collected by sensors in drilling equipment to determine the safest and most effective drilling path. Proper data management software can aid in suggesting the proper placement of resources and labor to decrease downtime and increase safety.
The benefits of rapid and accurate data management do not stop once a well has become operational. Now, strategically placed sensors transmit data about the state of the reservoir itself, including the pressure and temperature within it and the flow of oil out of it.
This data, analyzed and presented rapidly, allows for any necessary changes or repairs to be made before problems arise. It also allows for accurate predictions about labor and resource deployment.
From the wellhead to the refinery, pipelines are used to transport the unrefined product. SCADA systems feed copious amounts of information into data management systems that allow tracking of the content, flow rates, pressure levels, valve statuses, scraper and pig evaluation runs. Historical data can help determine when scheduled repairs may be needed due to corrosion issues while current pressure data can be used to evaluate pipelines for potential leak locations.
Effective data management continues to have an important role in the refinery. By combining historical data with current trends and future predictions, efficiency can be increased. Timely and accurate data about the refinery itself and the immediate demand for oil can be used to suggest volume, schedule labor, and determine which pieces of equipment are due for preventative maintenance.
Processed liquids and gases do not remain at the refinery indefinitely; they have to be delivered to the customer. While road and rail transportation are typically used for the “last mile”, most oil and gas products are transported over a network of pipelines. Data management, typically fed from extensive SCADA systems, is used to keep track of the state of the pipelines, their contents, past deliverables, storage levels at facilities along the route and so forth. All of this data is used to keep pipelines operating productively, profitably and most importantly, safely.
The use of cloud-based oil and gas data management software makes it easier for personnel to work together and share information in real-time, regardless of where they are located geographically. Teams spread across the globe can collaborate and coordinate seamlessly, and files are never more than a few clicks away. Add to this the availability of real-time data specific to the team’s focus and it is evident how access to this technology could increase efficiency and sound decision-making.
This technology also makes it easier for upper management to track any team’s progress and ultimate success or failure rates. They can also monitor and advise about any project from conception to completion.
The adoption of new oil and gas data management software offers many advantages, both now and moving forward. For Seismic Data Management, a platform such as Exploration Archives makes finding and cataloging the appropriate content easier than ever before. The system’s functionality and availability will continue to improve and advance as updates are continually implemented.
For more information about how seismic data management software can set your company on the path to long-term success. Contact us today and learn how Exploration Archives is leading the industry toward a new era of management for geophysical data.