This paper will review the unique challenges of field data management and the technologies used to meet them in unconventional resource operations. Examining the lifecycle of field data, we will look closely at issues of data quality, analytics, enterprise data availability, integration, and regulatory compliance from the perspective of shale operators.

Responding to the high decline rates of wells, factory drilling in unconventional plays results in high-paced operations and a large number of wells. With these come massive volumes of field data that must be captured, processed and turned into actionable information for surveillance, operational accounting and HSEQ compliance.

Field teams collect fluid volumes and operating conditions at the well site along with run tickets, tank battery inventories, sales volumes, equipment status, and chemical use. Increased sensitivity to environmental issues around shale plays require operators to closely manage water, emissions and other environmentally impactful measurements that must be collected, monitored and reported. To accommodate these requirements, shale operators need IT systems flexible enough to capture any information that might be needed. Mobility solutions are increasingly being implemented as an enabling technology for capturing the data in the field and communicating it to the systems and users who must process and act upon the resulting information. The use of mobile devices helps eliminate paper, saves time spent on data entry and improves the quality of data flowing into ERP and technical systems.

Maintaining the quality of the information gathered is a constant concern. Poor data leads to costly results, from un-optimized production to fines for inaccurate reporting. Incorporating validation checks and approvals into the field systems promotes consistency and accuracy as data is being gathered. Asset specific variances, alerts and visualization can immediately identify operational issues. Access to production targets via mobile devices keeps the field team aligned with corporate goals.

Once gathered, raw production measurements collected in the field are processed to produce allocated production volumes at each well and zone. Consumed by different departments across the company, the allocated volumes are used for planning, forecasting, operations management, revenue accounting, marketing, regulatory and partner reporting. Operators must have an effective production data management system to provide the resulting information to a variety of users at the time, place and in the format they require.

Field information is at the heart of operations management for any operator. The issues around collecting, analyzing and sharing it will be examined along with the technologies employed to provide the best solutions appropriate for shale plays.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.