As Oil Prices Plunge, Big Oil Turns to Big Data

oil drilling

by | Sep 10, 2015

oil drillingWith plunging oil prices, large oil and gas companies are using big data to manage risks, cut costs and increase revenues, according to Lux Research.

As hardware developers have brought a raft of new and existing sensor technologies to the industry, developers have more data to work with than ever. Oil and gas majors can exploit big data by identifying high-value use cases like reducing operational costs by anticipating bit-wear, optimizing rig utilization, and improving recovery factors.

Big data is now a “critical competitive advantage” to oil majors, says Colleen Kennedy, Lux Research analyst and co-author of the report, Big Data in Oil and Gas: The Intelligent Oilfield.

Lux Research analysts evaluated current Big Data and related technologies in oil and gas, before identifying high-value use-cases in the industry. Among their findings:

  • Breakthrough is in sight. Big data is poised for a breakthrough in oil and gas because the technology for acquiring, analyzing and acting on it is coming together. Companies like Glori Energy and Environmental BioTechnologies are complementing seismic data with novel sensors while others like Silixa and HiFi Engineering are bringing hardware like connected tools and smart pumps.
  • Companies need focus. In contrast to information-based industries like telecom, oil and gas needs a targeted approach to big data. High-priority use cases fall into six main categories: boosting production rates, reducing nonproductive time, predicting equipment failure, decision support for project planning and trading, de-risking exploration, and regulatory compliance and early event detection.
  • Human and environmental benefits also flow from data. Several technology developers are tapping big data to help oil producers manage health, safety and environmental impacts. NuPhysicia, for example, offers telemedicine for workers far from health care centers.

Photo Credit: oil drilling via Shutterstock

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