Book Review- Neil McNaughton, Oil IT

Carlos Damski sets out to ‘put drilling data management in a business context.’ He argues against single vendor solutions with a soft sell of Genesis Petroleum Technologies’ toolset.

In the introduction to the Drilling Data Vortex* (DDV), author Carlos Damski (Genesis Petroleum Technologies) seeks to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds with a management-level exposé on data and data management. DDV attempts to put data management into a business context, unlike ‘endless self-centric publications and conferences which regard data management as an end in itself’ (who could he be thinking of?). Data gets valuable only when it is leveraged in a business context to influence decision making.

A brief discussion of E&P databases concludes that, ‘No single vendor can provide all solutions in one database, although some are trying to sell this idea.’ It is better to use ‘magic mapping’ techniques such as OpenSpirit. For analysis, Damski deprecates the spreadsheet and advocates domain aware tools such as Spotfire and Genesis’ own iVAQ toolset for statistics and Monte Carlo data analytics.

There is brief coverage of data QC where Damski disses database stored procedures for actions like checking data ranges and validity. Instead we should be using tools like Datavera and (another plug) Genesis XCheck. Data visualization likewise requires its own tools such as Spotfire and Genesis XPlot (and another).

A chapter on drilling data introduces Deming’s ‘plan, do, check, act’ approach. Daily drilling reporting is highlighted as key to subsequent analysis and improvement. Some sections, particularly drilling optimization, the ‘statistical AFE,’ maps and logs do little more than introduce the subject. Rather extensive coverage of Energistics standards is not matched with a brief aside to PPDM. Material in the case history chapter is covered in a superficial manner.

A final chapter on drilling’s future concludes that the ‘future is now’ and offers evidence in the form of digital oilfield-type tools such as ProNova, Verdande DrillEdge to conclude with an introduction to the SPE DSATS initiative.

DDV is an interesting, brief (33k words) and idiosyncratic collection of reflections on drilling data. A companion website is to provide an ‘extended discussion’ of the book’s content. All in all, DDV is reasonable value at $7 in eBook form.

* 2014, Genesis Publishing. 138 pages. Available on Amazon.

by  Neil McNaughton, Oil IT

“Intelligent Salesman”

I heard a joke recently about DoF – Digital (or Intelligent) Oil Field. It says that the most intelligent component of the Intelligent Oil Field initiative is the salesman. As in any joke, there is some truth to it. The joke clearly points to the over-emphasis placed on the technology component in deploying DoF initiatives. As we all know, the triangle People-Process-Technology requires balance for proper development to occur. There are many vendors with good technology1, so there is not much of a problem in this area.

The “process” is much more of a challenge as it is more difficult to implement. In a nutshell, Project Management needs to be better implemented. We need strategic vision and better ways to plan, follow procedures, monitor, analyse, maintain safety tracking, etc.

The least developed point of the triangle is “people”. This not only involves training, management and performance reviews, a good working environment, etc. There is also a need to emphasize the collaboration between teams, working together to a common goal – keeping in mind that a set of players does not necessarily form a team.

Some people are puzzled by the lack of results achieved by their DoF initiatives. They buy and install all the required technology but forget the other two components of the triangle.