The Oil & Gas Industry has been a leader in information technology since the 1960s, when British Petroleum (BP) was mapping oil reservoirs in Alaska using state-of-the-art computers. The trend has continued today – two of the current leading super computers are owned by oil and gas companies.
While the Oil & Gas Industry has had the ability to measure and collect ever increasing amounts of data for some time, much of it has remained unused. US independent oil producers observed they utilised just five per cent of all collected data. New advances in cloud computing are now bringing the benefits of data analytics to the Oil & Gas Industry.
Cloud computing allows companies to use a network of remote servers hosted on the internet – to store, manage and process data. This allows oil and gas companies to analyse a wealth of data at reduced cost. Information about a company’s exploration, development and production is sensitive and classified, raising security concerns this has limited the adoption of cloud services.
Today data can be stored on a virtual hub rather than on local servers, enabling cloud computing services to be implemented more securely. Accenture found 70 per cent of oil executives surveyed were expecting to invest into digital technologies, with data storage and services proving to be the top priority.
The North American shale industry has been one of the fastest adopters of data-led innovations, facilitated by cloud computing. Thousands of wells are drilled every year and data from these sites has been used to drive advances in the industry – leading to experimentation with longer horizontal wells. BP recently used an optimisation model that raised production at 180 oil wells by 20 per cent.
Another major benefit of cloud computing is efficiency. Delfi, a new software system, is using the cloud to co-ordinate its oil well data. By analysing how wells are designed, drilled and brought into production, the software can maximise output for an entire oilfield. It is estimated to cut costs in US shale oilfields by 40 per cent within the next decade.
Data for the Oil & Gas Industry
By improving data analysis, oil and gas companies can improve the way they manage processes.
Confider gas flaring. At oil extraction sites across the globe, gas is flared as the main method of disposal for natural gas. While there are safety reasons for flaring, oil and gas companies routinely flare gas, emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) to the earth’s atmosphere.
Implementing remote and automated data streaming technologies will support the transition from measurement to management of greenhouse gasses, as the industry addresses the issue of emissions. Data from flare gas meters can identify the processes that result in the most flaring. Data retrieved from different sites can be compared to more effectively manage processes – site to site, country to country, or process to process – enabling continuous improvement over time.
Fluenta’s FGM 160 uses ultrasonic techniques to be the most accurate method of measuring gas flow. Learn more about the FGM 160 flare meter here.