Google Offers Insight Into Industry Data Possibilities
- Trent Jacobs (JPT Digital Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 65 - 65
- 2018. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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To share views on how the industry’s digital transformation is shaping up, top executives from Google, Shell, Encana, and Schlumberger will take the stage for the opening session of the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in Dallas, 24–26 September.
This kickoff discussion will focus on the culture shift required to adopt big data tools, and how to effectively leverage a new workforce of digitally-enabled engineers and scientists that is beginning to fill the industry’s rank and file.
Darryl Willis, the newly appointed vice president of Google Cloud’s oil and gas unit, is a trained geologist who spent more than 2 decades in senior positions at BP. From the podium, he plans to share perspectives on the digital challenges and opportunities the upstream sector is currently faced with.
“Machine learning, data analytics, and AI thrive on lots of data,” and while the industry has plenty of that data, “it only uses a fraction of it,” he explained.
To start unlocking the value of this information, he said that companies must do things that include “liberating” data from their traditional silos while also ensuring they are in fact capturing high-quality data from their wells and rigs. These are just two of the big steps required to take advantage of the power of cloud computing, and by not taking them, future profits are at risk.
“Companies will either be a catalyst for change, or they will be a casualty of change,” said Willis, citing projections that say many of the globe’s largest firms are poised to be surpassed by newcomers as technological and economic disruption continues.
ATCE’s opening session will provide attendees a chance to hear about where the industry is making the right moves and seeing positive returns on its recent investments in digital technologies. One place that fits the bill is the Wamsutter tight-gas field in Wyoming, an asset that Willis used to be in charge of during his tenure at BP.
“Wamsutter was a very tough field to produce because it was 2,500 wells over 2,500 sq. miles,” he said. “The way we managed that field was by sending pumpers, out in trucks, to actually check on the health of the wells.”
But business-as-usual changed last year when BP hooked 180 of those wells up to an AI program developed by a Silicon Valley startup called Kelvin Inc. The success metrics from the pilot were highly encouraging: operating costs dropped by 22%, production increased by 20%, and gas venting was cut by a whopping 74%.
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