Abstract

People remain Exploration and Production (E & P) companies' biggest asset, and yet, many studies show that, as an industry, we have struggled to harness the skills and knowledge of highly qualified professional staff in the critical business decisions needed in today's demanding environment.

The concepts of "Business Critical Workflow" and "Interpretation Cycle Time" will be shown to be crucial factors holding back our business. These represent the time it takes to design, collect, prepare, understand and take decisions from data, one of our other biggest assets. Today, this workflow is all too often a slow, inefficient and discontinuous process, and high risk business decisions are frequently taken without full recourse to all the available data, and more importantly to the knowledge derived from these data.

One of our key challenges is to align the business objectives of the various components of a typical E & P organization and to ensure that each of these components adds value throughout the E&P cycle. Thus we need to build a shared earth model for our oil and gas field prospects, which can be enhanced and used by all members of our business team, whether they are geologists, drillers, production engineers, geophysicists, economists or business managers. By reducing the time and effort needed to build, maintain and continuously update these models, the "Knowledge base" from our professional staff can be fully integrated and better utilized.

The generic use of modern software technologies will be illustrated with reference to several typical workflow scenarios. The adoption of industry standards will continue to be a key factor in the growth of such solutions, and in the future, E&P companies should have the opportunity to assemble applications from different vendors, without the need for time consuming data transfers from one platform to another. Standards will also bring a common application "look and feel" to users, irrespective of the data domain or application vendor, and such initiatives will help to reduce the learning curve for new or re-trained users. Vendors will undoubtedly continue to focus on ease of sue issues in their software development, but it will always be necessary for Oil companies to make the proper commitment in terms of relevant training and support infrastructure for the true (and significant) returns on investment to be realized.

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