Data Management and Communication

Topics: Intelligent fields/surveillance Risk management/decision-making

I would like to highlight three main trends that most exploration-and-production (E&P) operators are facing across the globe—the value of reservoir-surveillance information, the slow pace of automation and instrumentation, and the way forward.

The Value of Reservoir-Surveillance Information

Global energy demand will grow more than 33% by 2035. Most of the supply will come from the oil industry, if we do our job right. As demand rises, the complexities also increase.

The prime value of data captured through continuous surveillance is letting the reservoirs talk. Reservoirs talk through information and knowledge derived from data capture, analysis, and integration. This results in proper understanding and prognosis through applying better analytics and, thus, improving the decision-making process. In this way, we will be able to extend the lives of mature fields, discover new fields, improve refining and manufacturing efficiency, enable smart awareness, optimize corporate-scale operations, dynamically respond to supply and demand, integrate business and support functions across supply chain and geography, manage proactive growth, integrate information among all assets, and implement greater intelligence.

Slow Pace of Automation and Instrumentation

There is no question that smarter work flows enabled by digital automation increase profitability. To realize such opportunities, industry has been deploying hardware for sensing and actuation in the last 3 decades, in combination with data-driven modeling and remote collaboration. Many major oil fields around the world would not be producing today if not for opportune field automation.

However, building such capability across the globe has not been solid enough. Ninety percent of worldwide mid- to large-size operators (i.e., 100,000 BOPD or more) have embraced oilfield automation in the simplest form; however, less than 1% of such equivalent production has a consistent application of data-to-knowledge transformation. The slow acceptance of the technology is because of the short-term gratification from profitable and low-risk operations, lack of knowledge of the added value from related technologies, and management blindness.

What Is Next?

Many business and digital corporations claim that between 100 billion and 200 billion devices could be connected by 2020. Young engineers may not understand why it is not possible to access any real-time well data from his mobile device, understand its past performance, and allow the simulation of multiple scenarios to see the impact of decisions. With close to a billion people connected at any moment playing online strategy games, how is it possible that our industry is still so far behind with respect to the gaming philosophy?

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 170680 Predicting Failures From Oilfield Sensor Data Using Time-Series Shapelets by Om Prasad Patri, University of Southern California, et al.

SPE 171636 A Flowback-Guided Approach for Production-Data Analysis in Tight Reservoirs by O.D. Ezulike, University of Alberta, et al.

SPE 170633 Data as an Asset: What the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry Can Learn About Big Data From Social Media by Robert K. Perrons, Queensland University of Technology, et al.

SPE 173416 Addressing Oil and Gas Big-Data Challenges at the Remote Edgeby Serhii Konovalov, et al.

IPTC 17997 Intelligent-Field Real-Time Data Reliability Key Performance Indices by Abdulrahman A. Al-Amer, Saudi Aramco, et al.


Luigi Saputelli, SPE, is a petroleum engineer with 25 years of experience in reservoir engineering, field development, production engineering, drilling engineering, production operations, and oilfield automation projects. He holds a PhD degree in chemical engineering from the University of Houston, an MS degree in petroleum engineering from Imperial College London, and a BS degree in electronic engineering from Universidad Simon Bolivar. Saputelli has served SPE in many capacities since 1995. He has served on the Production & Operations Committee and as secretary of the Petroleum Data-Driven Analytics Subcommitee. Saputelli owns Frontender Corporation and serves on the JPT Editorial Committee.

Data Management and Communication

Luigi Saputelli, SPE, Petroleum Engineer, Frontender Corporation

15 September 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 10