Digital oilfield technology is touted as a solution to the constant challenges facing oil and gas. As global competition for resources continues to stretch Capex budgets, operators are pushed to maximize their workflow efficiency more than ever. No business unit is safe; from business development to field operations, everyone is feeling the crunch.
In a world of increasingly limited budgets, what’s an operator to do?
While digital oilfield technology is not new to the industry, stretched budgets have more and more companies willing to put their trust in the cloud. A November 2017 study by marketsandmarkets.com found the oil and gas cloud applications market is expected to grow from USD $3.04 billion in 2016 to USD $5.68 billion by 2022. Some are even calling cloud computing the next big thing in the oilfield.
Thankfully, if you are thinking of relying on the cloud in your business, there are hundreds of case studies across multiple industries to look at. Cloud technology has been transforming the way we do business for well over a decade.
5 reasons digital oilfield technology is the future
Is digital oilfield technology the future? We think so. Here are 5 reasons cloud applications will take over the industry.
1. All of your legacy and latest data in one place
Unlike digital oilfield technology, legacy software systems don’t talk to each other. Generally speaking, in these systems you upload data and it remains static until you manually refresh the database. This translates into hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in wasted labor cost and lost opportunities.
When you make decisions based on outdated information, you lose. If you are looking for acreage, you always want to look at the latest lease and permit data. No one wants to lose prime acreage to a competitor simply because they are looking at stale/static data.
Shared databases in the cloud have become ubiquitous in business for this very reason. Executives need clean, accurate, and current data to make good decisions. When a company implements shared databases, executives have immediate access to the latest information from across the business and can make accurate data-driven decisions about R&D budgets, sales targets, product roadmaps, and more.
Likewise, when you can feed internal data, vendor data, and public data into a single cloud system, you can get the big picture and make precise decisions quickly.
2. Analyze data in minutes, not hours
Speaking of quick, you don’t have to look far to find software solutions that have accelerated the decision making process throughout the oil and gas industry. Just look at Measurement While Drilling (MWD) tools.
Once upon a time, drilling for oil was a hit or miss proposition. You sent drill bits downhole and hoped for the best. Thanks to MWD tools, such as National Oilwell Varco’s (NOV) Blackstream, you can get real-time data on drilling dynamics and wellbore quality. Gone are the days of strictly relying on your gut and drill cuttings to decide the correct azimuth to get the best results.
The right digital oilfield technology can help geologists, reservoir engineers, and other business units analyze critical data in real time and slash weeks from their workflow.
3. Real-time communication from the field to the office
Unsurprisingly, when you drill 29,500 feet into the earth things don’t always go as planned. When things go sideways on-site, every second your home office is in the dark costs you money.
Enter smart glasses. With this new digital oilfield technology, your crew in the field doesn’t have to stop what they are doing to call the office when there is a problem. They can share a real-time view of the malfunctioning equipment just by looking at it. Some glasses even have the service manual embedded in them. Applications like these are replacing entire workflows and solving communication problems.
When you implement real-time communication, you rapidly increase the speed at which you do business. In a commodity-driven market with ever-fluctuating prices, the leanest companies win. Cloud technology puts you in the driver’s seat.
4. Shared data across business units
Real-time communication isn’t the only way to streamline your business. It’s great if your drilling engineer doesn’t have to pick up a phone to relay information, but replacing that workflow isn’t the whole story.
What happens when a geologist needs to access information that is housed on servers within the land department? With legacy software, he has to go to the land department to request access to the data. Needless to say, this is a massive waste of time.
Cloud-based applications eliminate the need for constant requests between disparate business units. With customized access, sensitive data is protected and team members have access to the data they need to make decisions now. Rather than having to ping your Division Order Analyst to see all leases filed in Reeves County in the past 30 days, you can instantly find it yourself.
5. Dynamic meetings means fewer meetings
The cloud has been utilized for quite some time to bring teams together from across the globe into a single room with video conferencing. As a result, workflows and travel budgets have been streamlined significantly. But what about the ability to answer those “what if” questions that you didn’t come prepared to answer?
Digital oilfield technology turns once static meetings into dynamic decision sessions. Those “what if” questions can be answered in real time when your data is kept up to date on a cloud-based application. Legacy data systems require you to rework your analysis back at your workstation and schedule yet another meeting. The cloud puts the answers at your fingertips so that decisions can be made with far fewer meetings.
Cumbersome paper maps are quickly being replaced with mapping applications with automatic data updates. Static presentations can be replaced with a digital map that conveys the big picture and yields analytics at the click of a button. The most current data can be shared in real-time to enable well informed decisions in a fraction of the time. Instead of scrambling to reload static data and schedule yet another meeting, you can bring the most up-to-date data with you and provide visual answers to those “what if” questions instantly. Now that’s what we call streamlining the workflow!