Data’s Growing Influence in the Oil & Gas Industry

Data’s use, its analysis, and its strategy is growing within the oil and gas industry. Learn why and how to identify a good data strategy.

Published on 24 May, 2017

If you’ve ever heard the term “data is the new oil,” you’ll know it is usually used to address the gushing transformation that businesses can expect when paying attention to data processes.

But the same customer experience and success holds true for those in manufacturing — particularly, the gas and oil industries.

Industry information management veteran Neale Stidolph talks about the challenges of oil price, fast-rising costs and falling production volumes in Oil and Gas: The Move from Documents to Data, calling it “the perfect storm.”

Data Really is the New Oil

Data acquisition and proper management of it should be improving the company daily. But unless management treats data as a corporate asset, its value diminishes, and potential opportunities to grow further are lost.

Even gas and oil industries stock up large information centers with data on their customers, products, and history. How is it being managed? There must be a sharing of the relevant data within the company so that customer service and selling points can be improved.

When internal data and external data are combined, there is also the possibility of new products to be realized within the business.

To Succeed, Data Must Be Measured

Remember the rule:  If you can measure it, you can improve it. Companies that do nothing with the pile of information they are sitting on won’t know where to look to find solutions to problems within the oil industry. Business customers are directly affected by the way a company operates and whether or not they come back to you depends largely on their customer experience.

How Today’s Data Fuels the Oil Industries

So how does this translate into better insight for the oil industries? On a daily basis, “big data” in oil production increases. This could be a boost in volume or velocity, processes, and generation of new ideas and products.Or you can take this further into a look at how technology is capturing real data through precise and detailed images of the earth. Its deep layers, structures, and characteristics can now be measured.

Developers now have the devices and machines which can take care of big data in this way. Forecasters say that within just two short years, the total amount of data on the earth’s structure and contents may be doubled.

In the United States alone, there are currently around a million wells producing and pumping oil from the earth’s hidden layers to the surface where it is refined, used, and sold.

And yet, there still seems to be a cultural gap between the technical petroleum professionals (who may thrive on this data), and the data scientists (who may do better to adjust their vocabulary in order to communicate better with the other party). While other business industries have found ways to bridge such gaps, it seems that in particular instances, the oil industry has yet to do the same.

The Oil and Gas Industry is Leveraging Data in New Ways

Switching to Digital Tools for Processing Information

Information assets vary according to the size of your company, and its complexity, of course. Your project documentation may still be in paper format, or you may be gradually shifting to have your oil and gas documents processes via digital tools.

But no matter how “upgraded” your oil company is, you still need to pay attention to how you are managing this accessed information. It doesn’t make sense to just have it all stored somewhere if you’re not using this data to track problems, come up with solutions, or find avenues for future growth.

Hiring data analytics who can handle this for you is one way to deal with the problem of the ever-increasing data volume. Another way to manage this effectively is training your HR and management peers to use data accordingly.

Identifying a Good Data Strategy

Finally, let’s look at the example of a good data management strategy. It should be able to do three major things for your gas or oil company:

1. Integrate Multiple System Streams

To ensure that you are getting the most out of your data sources and storage, you can apply automation systems. These are good for streamlining and achieving efficiency on every level. It also makes it easier for your staff from different management levels to employ the data in a way that makes their jobs easier.

2. Usability for Employees

Your people need to be inspired by data — not put off by it. They need to recognize its value, how it can help them function and do their jobs better. Train them to find ways to work with the data information, guiding them through the process of new opportunities through more intelligent information management.

3. Support — and Not Interfere With — Regular Daily Processes

You can essentially improve your oil business on a daily basis by learning how to improve your data. This is how you manage and keep track of profits, earn more revenue and make better sales.

Only by learning to grow with technology and benefit from the vast resources available at your fingertips will you succeed in such a competitive industry.

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