The Digital Oilfield philosophy has been with us for over a decade now. This philosophy has focused on leveraging the increasing "digitization" of the oil field and the interconnectedness of sensors, process control systems, smart equipment, and smart wells with remote decision support centers. Many innovative solutions have been developed to build upon field automation and real-time data to analyze, model and optimize specific oil field processes. The emergence of new digital technologies shows no sign of slowing. Some argue that we can now go forward from this foundation and focus now on analytics and the theme of PD2A (petroleum data-driven analytics).
The industry is now facing a new commercial reality, low oil prices. It is not business as usual and it may be lower for longer. Aging infrastructure (facilities, wells and pipelines), the "big crew change", increasing regulation and more complex reservoirs all shape the near term future. Developing creative solutions and successfully deploy them using the data we have collected to gain better insights into operational inefficiencies, bottlenecks in our supply chain., and most difficult of all, to help our culture embrace new ways of working that bring out value in terms of lower costs of operations, safer operations and more environmentally benign operations.
In adopting digital oilfield solutions, the industry has come up against a number of barriers including information silos, organization change, lack of trust, skill set shortages and ultimately the difficulty of building a business case for digital oilfield projects. This paper will explain why these barriers exist and will suggest alternative approaches to overcome them.
In difficult economic times with lower budgets and fewer people, the digital oilfield can either be a way to turn data into insights which drive understanding and efficiencies; or it can be a complex source of yet more data which is too overwhelming to make a difference. It is a critical time for the digital oilfield to stand up and create value.