Upping the data game in the oil and gas industry
6 MINS READ
Tackling data-sharing challenges
The top five priorities for upstream energy organizations: data centralization, consistency, integration, quality, and governance.
Historically, oil and gas (O&G) data has been stored in a proprietary format and accessed through an application, making data sharing across applications and domains a complicated and often cumbersome process.
However, as industry challenges and the associated data sets required to address these problems become increasingly complex, it is clear that the future will require a separation of application and data layers. Therefore, the Open Subsurface Data universe (OSDU™) Data Platform—the result of an open and collaborative environment—will be a game changer in the industry.
By effectively curating the data and making it available across the enterprise for greater collaboration, the platform will revolutionize the industry’s ability to deliver new capabilities by accelerating the deployment of data-driven solutions.
We discuss the business imperatives driving the development of OSDU Data Platform solutions, illustrate upstream oil and gas-specific business use cases, and propose an approach for seamless implementation.
O&G’s evolving response to data storage and management
The industry has traditionally taken a conservative approach to data storage and management.
From using relational databases for specific domains in the mid-90s to leveraging distributed storage systems in the early 2010s, the oil and gas players have come a long way. The industry strives to stay competitive and grow in a complex socio-economic environment. It is increasingly considering cloud-native data platforms to fully harness the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based analytics, and high-end storage and computing power. OSDU—which operates under the Open Group OSDU™ Forum—is a cloud-native, open-source, standards-based technology-agnostic data platform offers the perfect solution. It is designed to stimulate innovation, industrialize data management, and reduce time to market for new O&G solutions.
Why OSDU is a top imperative for O&G
There are a few fundamental challenges that underline the need for industry-wide collaboration.
These challenges include the following:
Decoding the OSDU data platform
O&G organizations increasingly recognize the need for clean, contextualized, and enterprise-wide data access.
They also acknowledge that success in the future will depend on constructive collaboration and are encouraging innovation through the OSDU Data Platform.
At its core, the OSDU solution separates data from applications by developing a common data platform that leverages standard public APIs using global cloud hosting. The current version of the platform broadly covers seismic and well data, with production data to follow closely. The platform is also expected to incorporate most energy data sources soon. This includes wind, solar, geothermal, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), and hydrogen. The immediate focus of the OSDU forum includes incorporating production and surface facilities data model and enabling real-time data integration and edge-based version for serving proximity requirements.
How upstream O&G can leverage the OSDU platform
Upstream O&G can leverage OSDU for better business outcomes in three key functional areas.
Reducing prospect evaluation time: OSDU enables portfolio ranking through risk modeling and economic analysis to select the best prospect. During early rounds of bid activity, explorationists compare analogous basin data and often find it challenging to collate structured and unstructured data and draw insights from there. An intelligent search-based application developed in compliance with OSDU standards can significantly improve the data collection experience by identifying relevant data not only from internal but also external data sources, including national data repositories.
Enabling collaborative field development planning (FDP): Field infrastructure development, carried out based on the outcome of the FDP report, demands extensive engagement and collaboration across functional teams. This includes geology and geophysics (G&G), reservoir, drilling, surface facility, production operation, and finance. However, the lack of cross-functional data flows impedes the overall process. The OSDU platform and advanced analytics can significantly decrease the effort required to create the FDP report. It also enhances the quality of the report by streamlining iterative feedback collection.
Integrated well planning and execution: Typically, there is little collaboration between the G&G group that proposes well location and basic reservoir parameters and the drilling engineering team that performs well engineering and monitors drilling operations. OSDU helps create an end-to-end workflow, enabling seamless data exchange between groups. The result: increased well placement accuracy, minimized operational risks, and overall reduced cycle time
A five-step approach
A well-prepared approach to deploying the OSDU platform will deliver the desired outcomes.
O&G players are turning to external vendors to provide the knowledge, technologies, and processes to handle ingestion, quality control, cloud data management, and information integration. Carefully reviewing existing internal plans and formulating an OSDU roadmap increases the chances of successful implementation – both in terms of which parts of OSDU to adopt and when, as well as determining which parts of the existing subsurface ecosystem can be retained and maintained.
Initial focus has centered mainly on integrating OSDU data models with existing data structures, quality, and ingestion. We believe a successful OSDU deployment will depend on the steps taken to ensure the organization and its supporting technology are well-prepared. To this effect, we have developed a five-step approach outlined in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Roadmap for initial stages of OSDU deployment
The objective is to understand the impact of implementing the OSDU data model on current operations. This entails the identification of OSDU data model capabilities as they stand today – to help define the strategy, timeline, and order of implementation, and determine which parts of the old system can be retained and need API support. Assessment is also the starting point for establishing a governance model with clear roles and responsibilities. It also helps establish data security by defining access rules and permissions, implementing access tracking, and developing a classification schema.
2. Data gathering
Migrating the data into the new data model offers the opportunity to upgrade quality through predefined standards and amplify the trust in data. Once the roadmap is defined, it is time to collate all relevant data from varied sources to a staging area.
The staging area addresses the need for data quality management (DQM) services like data gathering, auditing, de-duplication, cleansing, and preparing data in a defined format (OSDU compliant) before ingestion. It also helps automate ingestion and quality control while enabling robust security.
3. Cloud strategy
Where is the data going to reside? Is there an existing cloud strategy incorporating the OSDU data model to absorb the large amount of structured and unstructured data? Is cloud hosting and management already outsourced and can the existing vendor handle all the incoming data types? Other things that need to be considered are cloud security, risk and compliance, and continuous cost optimization.
4. Data ingestion
The transition to a new data repository and structure means much of the data needs to be moved. The data ingestion pipeline needs to be established by automating processes like generating manifests, defining structure, and invoking OSDU ingestion services on priority. User access must also be established along with data verification and reporting.
5. Data enrichment
Once the data is in the new platform, O&G companies can apply data enhancement services like data transformation and aggregation to enrich it further. Using the initial data ingested, the links to the applications that source data from the new data structure can be tested.
A paradigm shift
The O&G industry will benefit from shifting its focus from an application-centric to a data-centric approach.
Solutions based on digital technologies—AI, ML, big data, industrial internet of things (IIoT), and cloud—are more productive when built over a robust OSDU data platform. Why? Because it is easier to integrate the complete domain data (subsurface, wells, production, and data from other energy domains) into one platform and access data through applications using standard APIs.
The OSDU platform’s potential lies in its ability to reduce time to market by accelerating digital transformation initiatives. While every organization must adopt a unique approach based on its vision, willingness to change, existing capabilities, and strategic ecosystem partnerships, one thing is abundantly clear. The front-runners in the race to adopt OSDU will reap the early-mover advantage.