Driving Results with Analytics in Oilfield Operations

During the Operational Excellence in Energy, Chemicals & Resources conference in Calgary in early June, I had the opportunity to participate in an interesting and informative panel discussion with two upstream oil & gas experts from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Rustom Mody, Vice President, Enterprise Technology at Baker Hughes that focused on how companies can, are, and will leverage analytics to drive results in oilfield operations. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for sponsoring the Digital Transformation track, of which this panel discussion was part, during day 1 of the event and for giving me the opportunity to present following the panel discussion as well.

Tom Franklin, Director, Upstream Centre of Excellence at TCS, set the stage of the panel discussion as moderator stating he believes that oil & gas is still a great business but it needs to operate differently going forward – “Reimagine the business from the ground up, everything is on the table and digital technologies is key driver to unlocking future potentialities” was his challenge to the audience. Tom stressed the need for operational excellence (OE) and asked the panel about the role analytics can play in that regard.

Rustom Mody talked about how analytics were helping drive results via intelligent completions, enhancing subsurface visibility and enabling a viable digital oilfield today. Mody and I agree that the industry is ripe for opportunity by leveraging analytics and developing the cultures that foster innovation and OE, especially during this “lower for longer” market.

Jan Johansson, Principal Consultant, Oil & Gas Domain at TCS, talked about how the digital world is requiring industry change the way it does business going forward. He talked about TCS’ machine learning solution was leveraging analytics to help natural gas operator to realize that their pumps were likely going to fail ahead of time and what the cause(s) and fixes were, thereby saving time and money as well as maintaining production by providing maintenance only when it was needed. Johansson said the key is to think about what problems are trying to be solved and applying analytics effectively to realize results.

Shea talked about how IOCs and NOCs have been trying to develop and implement Digital Oilfields for over a decade now but have here-to-now have felt a sense of stagnation and that recent advances in analytics and working with strong technology partners (i.e. TCS) with capabilities to leverage and integrate advancements in analytics is now enabling companies to realize OE by integrating previously siloed operations.

One of the key takeaways from the conference was the real buzz and sense that more and more oil & gas, energy and chemical companies are developing digital strategies and learning about, and more importantly investing in, digital solutions and strong technology partnerships that will enable them to realize operational excellence even in challenging times.