Today, every industry, including the energy industry, produces an almost inexhaustible supply of data. While other industries may have been quicker to determine how to analyze and leverage that data, however, the energy industry has lagged somewhat behind them. Collecting data may be the first step of data management, but the real value of data is uncovered when it is analyzed and used to draw insights and help predict future performance. As the energy industry, including oil and gas, begins to more fully embrace data management and analytics, it is benefitting the industry in numerous ways.
Data can be used in oil and gas data management in a variety of ways. It may start with the search for new oil sources, in the field. Geologists take samples of potential new sources and record the location of the samples in databases. Those databases are used to determine the location of potential new wells, and whether they should be permanent. Once drilling is underway, engineering and drilling crews track and analyze the depth and location of gas and oil layers to help them bore more efficiently.
Most wells produce oil through fracking, which involves pumping liquids under high pressure into the layers of oil or gas. Monitoring and tracking all of the data involved in this process can be used to determine the well’s efficiency and production.
Because the energy industry, especially the oil and gas sector, is highly reliant on infrastructure and physical equipment, this is another area where it can benefit from data management. Analyzing data from infrastructure such as wells and pipelines can be an invaluable tool in predictive maintenance and can help determine what pieces of equipment that are likely to fail or require replacement or repair. This helps energy companies manage costs and avoid pricey, extensive repairs.
At the refinery, crude oil is distilled and cracked, and data is gathered that includes the amount of crude oil received; where it was produced; and how much of different petroleum products are created. Measuring the quality and quality of the production can help the refinery adjust its production processes, and that data can also be used to streamline and improve processes at other refineries as well. Down the line, when fuel is sold to wholesalers and then consumers, data can help reveal seasonal and geographic demands for fuel.
The energy industry produces a large amount of valuable data, but there are challenges involved with this kind of data management, including how data is to be collected, how it is stored, and how it’s kept secure and private. Companies also face challenges in data processing, and how to share and integrate data. The attached resource, How Digitalization of Data is Changing the Energy Industry describes more about this.
Infographic created by Resource Energy Solutions, an oil and gas software provider