Big Data comes to shale oil industry

Faced with falling prices, many major industry players are looking for new strategies to increase efficiency and maintain current earnings. Fortunately, a tremendous amount of data has been generated by oil and gas operations in recent months, offering leadership the potential to gain greater visibility into operations and enhance efficiency and productivity. 

Big Data, or the use of data-driven analytic solutions, has emerged as a must-have tool for current leadership. However, some executives are still hesitant to put too much faith into these solutions. 

Keith Holdaway, upstream domain expert for the SAS Global Oil & Gas business unit and author of "Harness Oil and Gas Big Data with Analytics: Optimize Exploration and Production with Data-Driven Models" recently spoke with RigZone about the technology's effect on the industry. 

"The volumes have always been there, but the variety of structured and unstructured data coming from the growing number of sensors and valves on intelligent wells and velocity of data is very much a differentiator these days in today's industry,"  Holdaway explained. 

This influx of data has led some organizations to become more agile and improve decision-making and implementation times. But, Holdaway explains that not everyone is convinced.

"A lot of them are put off by the black box situation – which is not really a black box," he explained. 

Long-term industry stakeholders who have had poor experiences using data-mining techniques in the past are often the hardest to convince. The majority of past data was unstructured and inconclusive, and analytical tools struggled to make real conclusions. Now, Holdaway argues, a shift has occurred from a deterministic model to a probability model, which dramatically increases the value of analytics. 

The introduction of novel production technology, combined with Internet-of-Things (IoT) enabled equipment, may help to improve workflows and reduce inefficiencies. Seeking oil and gas management consulting may help to determine if a data analytics solution is right for your organization.