Figure-1: Illustration of Centralized Data Management System at Asset Level

Data Redundancy and Retrievability in an Oil and Gas Asset

Invaluable Data in an Oil and Gas Asset

The oil and gas asset has five phases: exploration, appraisal, development, production and decommissioning. Invaluable data from its five life cycle phases is highly essential throughout the oil and gas asset life cycle. During the initial phases, geology and geophysics data, reservoir data, drilling logs and well details are necessary to estimate hydrocarbons, reservoir potential and plant design. These data will be reviewed during the production period for producing hydrocarbons as per the field development plan (FDP). Oil and gas production involves a wide variety of statutory and legal approvals. These approvals require particular data for each approval. There should be communication and connectivity for the people working on these approvals throughout the asset life cycle. Similarly, maintenance history is also of a similar type; present and future working maintenance engineers require past data and history of equipment and plant to ensure production facilities’ availability. Like this, many instances require data; otherwise, there will be a flaw in the operation of oil and gas assets.

Network Common (Shared) Folders

Some organizations maintain a common folder for data management. These folders have access to write, read and no access based on the requirement of the individual, and are updated by the people who are generating and processing data. These folders are under high security under the vigilance of the IT team with daily backup. The owner of the folder should ensure the right data is in the folder and the wrong data is not. Unnecessary data in the folder makes it difficult for the people retrieving the data and is a burden to the IT team for backup. Naming and segregation of folders make the data retrieval easy unless the data remain useless. If an organization does not have a common folders system, it needs to implement one for better asset management. These common folders should be centralized at the asset level.

Some organizations have well-maintained data management systems with a shared folder in the network for even daily activities. Everybody also works daily on these folders in the network, and these details are viewed by the required people. There are many advantages with network folders such as no duplicate files, instant results to internal customers (the quality lab puts data in the network folder, the process can see the results and take immediate action), data security, fewer email communications, centralized data availability, data backup, data available at one place, not in multiple local systems, system dependent and no need to depend on a person. In addition, these common folders come under the vigilance of the IT team for data management, and there is no data loss.

Email System

Some organizations are not well disciplined in email protocols, such as people sending emails to too many people, and many of the “CCs” are not required. Even the asset manager (head of the asset, with the responsibility of all functions of an oil and gas asset) gets too many emails in a day. This improper system allows the people to send too many emails, and most of these emails are not opened by the receivers. Under this avalanche of unnecessary emails, important emails may be overlooked or missed by the person who needs to give immediate attention to that particular email.

Some organizations are well disciplined in sending emails; the right email goes to the right person, including the “To” and “CC.” The asset manager gets the consolidated daily progress report (DPR) which is compiled from all departments’ DPRs. Every mail with “To” to a particular person requires his action, and “CC” to a particular recipient requires intimation to that particular person.

In addition, these organizations maintain common email folders for emails that require many people’s attention to this particular folder. This mail will be there for a specific period as decided by the management and monitored by the IT team. Generally, these common email folders are created based on the groups who require this communication. This common email folder system saves a huge amount of email data storage for the IT team and avoids too many emails to individual email inboxes.

Employees Attrition and Change

The main data communication gap is generated from the employee leaving the organization, and the person who takes that place. If any person is leaving the organization, his computer is surrendered to IT as a part of the [separation]; his email is removed from the company network and entire data and communications from him are in vain. The new person [experiences] a gap and misses vital data and communication from his [predecessor]. In this type of situation, common network folders and common email folders reduce the maximum possible gap.

Isolated PCs

In some organizations, employees maintain vital data in individual personal computer (PC) folders. If anything happens to the hard disk, such as a crash or corruption, the organization misses that important data. Some employees are immature or not transparent and maintain vital data in the local PC folder to show their importance and individuality by hiding data. An organization’s asset manager should ensure vital data is not stored in the individual folders and, instead, is stored in the network folder with secured access.

Different Software packages Used in an Oil and Gas Asset

In an oil and gas asset, many software packages are used for a wide variety of activities. Most of these systems are isolated and are not connected to centralized data management systems. These software packages, in general, have a database and application. These applications and data sets backups should be taken in the centralized data management system along with other network folders in a scheduled manner.

Digitalization and Necessity of Centralized Data Management System

From the first phase of the oil and gas asset, the data should be digitalized. Field details, geological maps, seismic studies, lithology charts, formation evaluation reports, reservoir details and maps, drilling and well completion details, plant drawings, plant details documents, maintenance histories, statutory details, etc. are to be digitalized and stored in a central database management system with secured access. The lack of availability of these data to the current decision-making team makes the organization vulnerable.

Keys to Success

A successful oil and gas organization can maintain a system-dependent data management system and a not-person dependent data management system by maintaining a centralized data management system with network folders, common email folders and data backup with a systematic protocol for the employees’ communication and data storage.

Headline illustration of Centralized Data Management System at Asset Level

Author Profile
Tata L.N. Murthy
Assistant General Manager - OGT (Production Chemistry), KG Asset - Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Author Tata L.N. Murthy is an oil and gas professional with 21 years of experience in oil and gas upstream deepwater, shallow water and onshore fields. He has gained knowledge and qualifications in eight subject areas of oil and gas operations (chemistry, inspection, corrosion, IT, HSE, operations, petroleum and procurement and contracts). Murthy has published three books on personality development and 28 papers (single and self-authored) in 17 subject areas (corrosion, environment, quality, projects, maintenance, operations, finance, asset integrity management, asset management, security, legal and statutory, procurement and contracts, inspection, chemistry, safety, trainings and HR) of oil and gas asset management, which includes a paper on legal and statutory compliance for commencing oil and gas production in the March/April 2018 issue of OILMAN Magazine.

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