The E&P industry is facing business challenges that technology can help to resolve. Implementation and seamless operation of this technology is difficult because of various, incompatible data formats.
A global, industry-wide set of freely available and vendor-neutral technical data exchange standards for key data along the entire E&P value chain can solve these data incompatibility problems. They facilitate the fast, efficient implementation and operation of technology which in turn will help E&P companies by improving efficiencies and business processes while lowering their costs.
A few key challenges E&P businesses are facing today are:
- Increased pressure for operators to maximize recovery and replace reserves in the face of worldwide energy demand forecasts.
- Huge growth in expenses, uncertainty, and risk due to remote geographic locations and technically complex and unconventional plays.
- Urgent need to bridge workforce shortages and experience gaps with technology solutions as senior petro-technical professionals retire in record numbers and a new, less-experienced work force climbs the learning curve.
- Exponential growth in the volume of available data and difficulty in managing and using all that data to realize value.
Digital Oilfield (DOF) technology and solutions—the broad range of “intelligent” field instrumentation, equipment and computer hardware and software implemented along the E&P value chain—has the potential to help businesses address these challenges.
A key barrier to full implementation and realization of DOF value is incompatible data formats. The various technologies and systems along the value chain are proprietary solutions made by different vendors, service companies, and operators with different, often proprietary, data formats. Also, different systems used by multiple stakeholders in a project—service companies, operators, partners, and regulatory agencies—use different data formats. The ongoing need to reformat data as it moves along the value chain or between stakeholders is inefficient, error-prone, and costly.
Pitney Bowes Business Insight Survey shows companies have worked for years to improve data quality yet find it challenging to maintain accurate information and struggle to quantify the true business loss cost of that quality.
According to the survey, one-third of survey respondents rate their data quality as poor at best, while only 4% rat it as excellent.
Working around poor data quality can be devastating to productivity and operational expenses.
In an industry where the data volume is massive, it is critical to have standards in order to make decisions based on accurate, consistent data. Additionally, standards eliminate the need to translate data into other formats, which reduces errors and increases efficiencies.
Agreement among all stakeholders to use data exchange standards provides the interoperability between various DOF technologies, allowing data to be easily passed from one application or technology to the next.
Companies can use whatever proprietary algorithms within software and technology, but they must use the standard data formats, such as WITMSL, use XML to define the data types and information technology protocols (such as SOAP and HTTP/S) for data transfer.
Adoption of these standards by energy companies and support of these standards by service, supplier and software vendors will:
- Allow energy companies to leverage their investment in highly instrumented fields to enable new capabilities for automation and optimization that would otherwise be impossible or difficult to achieve.
- Reduce the cost of information exchange between software within an operating company and between operating companies, partners, contractors, and regulatory authorities.
- Reduce the cost of replacing or substituting software to benefit from improved functionality.
Further value to vendors can include:
- Simplified methods to provide software as plug-and-play components. With standards-based connectivity, tools from a vendor can be more easily integrated within the IT architecture of the operator companies, which will reduce the hurdles and potentially increase likelihood of adoption.
- Lower costs of maintaining the vendor’s software suite. The vendor needs to maintain the standards-enabled compliant software components or at least standards-enabled connector(s), but is shielded from the need to develop and maintain components or connectors separately for each operator company.
Realizing the benefits of standards requires widespread adoption and implementation by the industry.
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