Big data gives big advantages to oil and gas

 By Peter Ward

The oil and gas sector produces an enormous amount of data. Activities such as drilling, exploration, maintenance and production all produce valuable information that until recently has been too vast to process effectively. There are an increasing number of powerful big data analytics solutions available to the industry, but oil and gas companies need to make investments now to capitalize on these advances…

A recent research paper from DNV GL estimates that if the oil and gas industry could analyze and understand all of the data it produces, operational efficiency could be boosted by as much as 20%. The same research showed that 16% of oil and gas professionals surveyed believed big data and analytics would be the technology to have the biggest impact on the industry this year, the second most popular answer behind unconventional gas extraction technologies. There are three trends emerging from the big data market in the oil and gas sector, according to a report from technology research and advisory company Technavio. The first is the rapid adoption of user-friendly predictive modeling tools. This software takes the huge amounts of data generated and presents it in an easily digestible format to managers, enabling quicker and more efficient decision making. An example would be gathering pressure, volume and temperature data and comparing it to historical databases in order to look for patterns of equipment failure.

Big data and analytics would be the technology to have the biggest impact on the industry this year

The report also notes that there has been an increasing demand for advanced big data analytics solutions in the oil and gas industry. These types of analytics can improve exploration and drilling efforts, and take in data on weather patterns and ice formations to show the potential impacts on rigs. The final trend is using cloud computing technology to drive down the costs of big data analytics. “With new advances in the sector, big data finds increased application for tracking machinery, equipment, and personnel performance,” said Navin Rajendra, one of Technavio’s lead industry analysts for enterprise application research. “Over the next four years, big data solutions will be increasingly used by oil and gas companies to effectively track and manage enormous volumes of data generated. Big data analytics is slated to play an important role in the sector to optimize business decision making and innovation.” Despite the benefits, the oil and gas industry’s investments are lagging, according to further research by DNV GL. Only 36% of oil and gas industry professionals surveyed were planning significant or moderate investment in big data and analytics this year.

SEE MORE: Big data, Big advantages by Peter Ward

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about the author
Peter Ward
Business and technology reporter based in New York. MA in Business Journalism at Columbia University Journalism School 2013. Five years experience reporting in the U.S., the U.K., and the Middle East.