Leveraging Big Data in Oil & Gas Sector
By Anil Bajpai
A vision towards an integrated exploration and production (E&P) data management platform still remains a challenge in the oil and gas sector. It is a daunting task to extract business-critical intelligence and insights from large volumes of data in a complex environment of legacy diverse systems and fragmented and decentralized solutions that are common in the O&G sector.
Most O&G companies are primarily concerned with challenges associated in managing vast complexity of E&P data such as seismic, drilling, well and production. Moreover upstream data is growing exponentially in the form of both structured as well as unstructured data.
An effective strategy to gain on-demand insights from such E&P data is critical for decision making. Analyzing this data will help O&G companies gain in-depth knowledge on drilling patterns; infer various types of soil contents based on parameter models and compare well curve information across various oil wells.
Some typical challenges for E&P data management in the O&G sector are:
· Upstream focused applications are at a functional level. So, substantial time is spent in data collection and running reports for a given asset level i.e. for a single well or aggregate wells in a given location.
· A majority of applications are still non-PPDM-based (Professional Petroleum Data Management Association), which makes the reports and KPIs non-accurate at most times.
· It is difficult to derive insights from unstructured data lying in multiple applications.
· It is difficult to run predictive analytics as data is spread out in multiple systems with lesser integrity and reference to master-level data.
Necessity for Digital Oil Field Enterprise Platform
It is in this challenging situation, that a Digital Oil Field Enterprise Platform comes in. It integrates E&P data from different project phases — Seismic, Drilling, Well and Production — into a single consolidated platform.
The solution should leverage big data enabled cloud infrastructure, an integrated workflow, an accelerated digitized solution framework, hybrid data models and a host of accelerators for data migration.
A digital E&P data management platform should be designed to fit within an O&G operator’s or an oil field service provider’s technology infrastructure and easily provide on-demand information. A ready-to-use accelerator as well as interface with third-party Geologist and Geophysicists (G&G) product suites is one of the critical success factors.
Benefits of Applying Big Data Enabled Solution
The crux of the big data enabled solution is to provide a holistic view of information by processing diverse data along with an understanding of its relationships and patterns and thereby enabling a quick decision-making process related to reservoir and optimization of data exploitation.
The E&P data management platform focused on oil and gas companies offers them the following:
· Scalable architecture to analyze terabytes to petabytes of multi-structured well log data;
· Massive parallel processing providing unified view of the data from multiple wells during its lifecycle — be it at the planning, operations or post-completion stage;
· Integrated KPI framework — for commercials, operations, health and safety execution, productions, etc.;
· An extendable PPDM compliant data-model and Energistics standards to manage the data with a partner ecosystem;
· Comparative analytics and correlations with wells in similar geologic conditions to help decision making for drilling oil wells;
· Oil and gas domain encyclopedia for easy interpretation of scientific terminology.
Anil Bajpai is Senior Vice President and Head- Research and Innovation, iGATE
Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April
Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.
The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.
Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.
In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue.
Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”
There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:
- Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps.
- Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold.
- Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice.
Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.
"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.
"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."
United Utilities picks up pipeline award
A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.
The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.
“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.
Camus Energy secures $16m funding
Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent Ventures, Wave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.
As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.