The topic of knowledge management has matured considerably over recent years, evolving from abstract discussion about the translation of raw data into useful information on to knowledge while presenting an exposé of the differences between explicit and tacit knowledge. These dialogues, more often than not, lacked cohesion as well as a clear impression of the effect on the industry's bottom line.

In reviewing the various papers for this year's feature, I have to remark about the superior quality and high degree of relevance of the various publications. One can witness a foundation of data acquisition and management in a continuum, which spans from the large volumes of data that comprise the static domain of the shared Earth model to the capacity to collect data on a continuous basis along the full profile of the wellbore. The latter is a clear demonstration of the great strides in technology made by the providers of data-gathering systems.

Until recently, many knowledge-management initiatives were hindered by an environment that was unable to make immediate and efficient use of all the data being acquired to benefit the operation of the asset. A mainstay in the downstream operation of refinery and pipeline systems, the upstream E&P industry has evolved slowly in accepting the value of real-time data. Clearly, we are now at an advanced stage of integration of technology and information that does, indeed, drive decision making on a continuous basis.

Coupling the advances described above with the ascribing of value to specific information provides added capability in making decisions that are bottom-line driven in an industry that depends increasingly on marginal assets as we focus on sustainability of current and future reserves. The papers featured this month provide an interesting wealth of information on the state of play of data-gathering technology, integration initiatives, operational deployment of digital oilfield environments, and the use of mentoring as a means of capturing and retaining knowledge. These are all excellent ingredients in a recipe for the continuing success of integrating knowledge management into mainstream E&P operations.

Knowledge Management and Training additional reading available at the SPE eLibrary: www.spe.org

SPE 106916 "From Sensors to Models to Visualization—Handling the Complex Data Flow" by Ø. Kolnes, SINTEF Petroleum Research, et al.

SPE 103287 "Sustained Competitive Advantage Through Structured Mentoring" by G. Arango, SPE, Hughes Christensen, et al.

SPE 108175 "Value-of-Information Applications in Unconventional Resource Plays" by Patrick E. Leach, Decision Strategies, et al.

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