The oil price has begun to show signs of an upswing but as drilling applications increase, the stark inefficiencies of oilfield operations are bubbling to the surface.
As other industries modernize and digitize, most oil and gas operations have maintained manual, paper-based systems. The inefficiencies of this slow, error-prone approach is only amplified as drilling and production increases.
Now is the time for oil and gas operations to leap into the 21st century with new developments in mobile devices, data analytics, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
Well Delivery Planning
Consider Well Delivery Planning, for example, a very heavily paper reliant process as we all know. We also know that it’s a process riddled with errors and inefficiencies. Checklists alone can lead to expensive mistakes and poor data quality. A simple error on well coordinates may be missed by teams and result in a long process of needing to be fixed and re-started.
Software based checklists are integrated with other systems for automated data entry, removing the opportunity for human error in many cases. When humans do input data, it is through digital entry and drop-down lists – significantly reducing the chance of mistakes. Once data is entered, it is automatically passed on to subsequent processes avoiding re-entry errors. Overall, data quality and sharing is improved significantly offering a range of benefits down-the-line as well as new avenues for analysis.
Data Visibility and Reporting
We’ve all been there – short on time before an important meeting without having up-to-date information readily available. You end up digging through piles of paper and emails trying to piece together information for a presentation or report. Your urgent requests for missing data go unanswered for hours or days. It’s not until the meeting itself that you realize that whole sections of information have been forgotten.
The process of compiling reports under a high quality digital system could not be more contrasting. All data is available at the touch of a button and accessible anywhere via a mobile device. Standard report templates can be created and data is structured in such a way that up-to-date information for entire reports can be gathered and fed into report templates with one click.
In the most intelligent systems, questions can be posed and accurate answers can be generated using information gathered from multiple data streams. Understanding reasons for a rig delay using a manual data system is often arduous work. Instant access to data and assisted report creation though digitized oil and gas operations is freeing up employee time and revolutionizing the data reporting processes.
When it comes to oil and gas operations every action has a prerequisite or dependent task. One teammate can’t move until another does, and so on and so forth, thus creating bottlenecks and limiting each employee’s ability to organize their time effectively. Executives also have limited visibility and are unable to quickly identify bottlenecks in order to manage problems.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone involved in a task had access to all the data they need as soon as it is ready and could see timelines for completion of each task along the line? Digital oil and gas operations offer exactly that. They allow each team member to understand the entire process and plan their time better. Executives are provided unprecedented viability, meaning they can accurately adjust project timelines when needed or identify the cause of delays in order to speed up the process.
Replanning and Scenario Planning
With market leading software you can create simulations and ‘what if’ scenario analysis to see what impact potential operational changes could have on capital expenditures and production targets. This is a difficult and slow process using a highly inaccurate and poorly structured manual system. Inevitably, only a fraction of the analyses takes place under manual systems compared to digital equivalents.
It can cost $30,000 dollars a day to lease some rigs – you often have a choice of jobs and sites but the most promising ones may be far apart. Using ‘what if’ scenario analyses based on accurate data provided by digital oil and gas operations, you can simulate a variety of scenarios to see which is best and if any are even worth the cost. These hypothetical planning situations can take dynamic market conditions into account and even suggest postponements to wait for better condition forecasts.
Diamondback, an independent oil and natural gas company, complained that Monday morning meetings were spent chasing different teams for missing information. Seven Lakes was brought in to add capacity without increasing the workforce. By providing a collaborative enterprise platform, where configurable tasks and attributes could be collected from seamlessly across departments, Diamondback was able to drill more with what they already had.
The new system reduced time for daily mundane activities, improved rig efficiency by 10 percent across drilling and completions, and increased productivity per rig, allowing them to meet their targets with 10 percent lesser rigs.
Ambitious oil and gas firms like Diamondback are reaping the rewards of leaping into the 21st century by digitizing their operations. When the market inevitably begins to swing up they will be poised to take full advantage with capacity earned through greater efficiency. The emerging new era in oil and gas will be won by those firms who are streamlined and ready to react.
This piece presents the opinions of the author: Shiva Rajagopalan is the CEO and cofounder of Seven Lakes Technologies.