IBM helps grow oil investment through data management

IBM is very much aware of the ever-growing volume of oil and gas data that has flooded the oil industry, as a result the company has endeavored to help oil businesses cope with this problem by putting together 5,000 technical specialists stationed among the world’s oil-rich basins.

IBM believes that widespread availability of huge data resources is a good things, but what is more important is refining the information and sending it to people who heavily rely on processed oil data.  These people include those who so often make crucial decisions on whether or not investing in oil exploration in a particular region would be feasible.

IBM Director of Strategy and Business Development David Womack told Reuters that “in data management we see a lot of effort, and by effort I mean investment, in that space.”
He further said that the ability to manage and control stored information to one’s advantage is very crucial.

California-based oil company Chevron Corporation disclosed that it is managing stored information at 1.5 terabytes daily.  This is roughly the same as maintaining more than a million new books each day.

Years ago, two dimensional seismic imaging was being used to capture oil basin images, but due to technological enhancements, three dimensional imaging is already in use.  Even oil refineries use similar technology to closely check on various sections of their plants.

Womack’s group was recently sought by Royal Dutch Shell for assistance in handling oil data overload.

He said cluster computing, having several computer terminals linked to each other,

has helped a lot in speeding up data processing.  With just a few clicks, users get ready-to-use information like fracturing rates to be applied in one oil region versus other regions.

With this technology, what is normally achieved in 10 weeks can be done in less than half a day.  Womack further disclosed that the quest for oil reservoirs has become more difficult, so high-tech imaging is necessary in searching for new ones.

Chevron has been using cluster computers since 2000.  To this date, it has managed its data under this set-up without the need of a computer mainframe.

John McDonald, the company’s Chief Technology Officer mentioned that being able to manage an oil reservoir in real time helped Chevron begin its oil project at the Gulf Of Mexico months ahead of schedule.  This could entice other oil companies to similarly invest in oil exploration research and technology that could certainly help expedite data gathering and decision making.

McDonald said “That data has great utility if you can start making sense of it.”

By: Chris Termeer

Chris Termeer

Chris Termeer is an oil and gas consultant, industry commentator and analyst. His book, Fundamentals of Investing in Oil and Gas provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including exploration, drilling, production, storage, transportation and refining, to name but a few.

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