Learning is defined as a permanent change in behavior, but in what way have experiences from previous projects influenced the way we plan and execute drilling operations? There is an abundance of data in the oil and gas industry, but this sharp increase in data has not necessarily translated into greater knowledge and insight. The shear waste of time, cost, effort and talent is astounding, from the engineer meticulously reporting the lessons learned during the lifetime of the project, the man-hours spent looking for the correct file, the effort used to be able to compare data from several sources to create recommendations for projects. This process is repeated across projects, companies, regions and disciplines costing millions, but the result often fails to make an impact in planning of the next project.

We have identified several barriers for efficient use of experiences in planning. One such barrier is that the information is not easily accessible, but it is dispersed on a plethora of formats, files, and physical locations, which means that the engineer spends more time gathering the information than actually analyzing it. Another such issue is the data is not easily comparable across wells, fields, and companies, due to differences in reporting, units of measure or drilling parameters. Due to the time-constraints of a project planning phase one might often end up comparing the accessible wells, rather than the relevant wells. A third barrier is that the context of the experience is often lacking, which means that the engineer knows the what was done, but often lacks the tacit knowledge about why the situation arose, like which drilling parameters were used, which formation was drilled through and what bit was used. The sharp increase of data also means that size of the haystack increases, in some estimates less than one 1% of the data captured is analyzed. This makes it harder to find the correct piece of the puzzle, because the engineer not only have to decide what information to use, but also what to ignore.

We will show, using examples from some of Norway’s leading oil companies, how you can overcome these obstacles by focusing on standardization, visualization and collaboration which makes it possible to compare lessons, wellbores and logs across projects. In the past, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man was king. The future, however belongs to those who can create knowledge out of data.

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