Modern technologies such as Big Data and Analytics are bringing wide-ranging changes throughout the world across industries and introducing new ways of doing business and disrupting traditional business models. One of the sectors where it is making remarkable interventions is the way energy majors function. The oil and gas industry is leveraging Big Data Analytics to improve productivity and explore new potential venues as it often finds itself bombarded with increasingly greater amounts of data during exploration and production activities. It is a virtual Tsunami. This is where Big Data Analytics comes into the picture.
What is Big Data?
Big Data is a term for data sets that are so huge or complex that traditional data-processing methods are insufficient. Big Data Analytics processes those large data sets to uncover hidden patterns and unknown correlations, leading to the discovery of the interpretation and communication of meaningful trends and tips. Oil companies can leverage Analytics to describe, predict, and improve well performance and optimization. Big Data uses mathematical and statistical tools along with algorithms to decipher trends and make predictions. The tools factor in several parameters such as the geographical location, soil type, depth, sub-surface geology, etc.
Modern-day sensors generate huge amounts of data
With manifold increase in affordable sensors that collect and transmit data and new Analytics tools and advanced storage capabilities, new possibilities are continuing to emerge, helping energy companies capture more detailed data in real time at reduced costs and from areas that were previously inaccessible. This would help them take better technical decisions and improve oil extraction and production. In trying to find out what lies below the surface and the ways to extract it, oil companies have also been utilizing seismic software, visualization tools and other digital technologies. Better Analytics has the potential to improve the way companies manage the entire process of drilling and connecting a well, reducing lag time and reducing the number of wells that are working at a particular time. For example, transmitting microseismic, 3D imaging over fiber-optic cables could enhance new well delivery performance.
Analytics could help companies avoid equipment failure
The industry collects sensor data from thousands of subsurface oil wells to monitor oil assets. Collecting and analyzing massive volumes of geologic, operational and performance data, each with several variables that constantly change, can help companies improve and optimize drilling parameters. This would also help them refine well spacing and completion techniques, especially as the companies drill more wells and bring them online.
They can also move beyond measurement into predictive tools which have a range of pattern-recognition techniques which could help them find trends, intervene at an early stage and create repeatable solutions with outcomes that are predictable. For example, sensors that are placed deep inside the wells or on top of drilling equipment send a constant stream of information that can help the authorities understand if or when a piece of equipment might fail.
As sensors become less expensive, their numbers grow into thousands, generating large volumes of information. Integrating such data into operations improves calibration and visualization capabilities, at the same time reducing technical risks. Data analytics can help in monitoring equipment and pipelines and allow a more precise and predictable approach to maintenance. For instance, sensors can indicate when an equipment may come under unusual stress. This allows operators to complete preventive shutdowns or interventions which may avoid accidents or spills.
Research supports Big Data Analytics could spike production
According to latest research, Big Data and Analytics are yielding good results due to their use. Some estimates have predicted that the resultant improvement in output could be about 6–8%. According to a survey by Deskera, a global leader in cloud technology and which has recently developed a Big Data tool of its own, companies leveraging Big Data Analytics have 65% more chance of outdoing competition.