Study Indicates Upstream Oil and Gas Sector Needs Improved Business Process Collaboration To Improve Timeliness of Crucial Data Delivery and Decision Making
News Release -- July 08, 2010
FALLS CHURCH, Va., July 8 – A survey released today by CSC (NYSE: CSC) reveals that professionals in the upstream oil and gas industry are discovering that the vast amounts of data made available in the “digital oilfield” present another set of challenges in effectively deploying, managing and operating upstream assets.
The large increase in available technical, operational and financial data presents challenges in governance, collaboration, data management and operational processes. These significant investments in collecting data from operational assets, business systems and field seismology were intended to speed improved decision making, but results have been mixed and new problems have arisen. Respondents indicate that these problems stem from a lack of effective collaboration between key disciplines, as well as poorly designed business processes and organizational resistance.
The survey, conducted in May 2010 by Hart Energy Publishing’s E&P Magazine, sought to determine participants’ ability to access data in a timely manner to make informed decisions and effectively manage exploration and production (E&P) operations. Respondents include representatives from a wide range of E&P oil and gas operators located around the world, with functions ranging from field studies, drilling, production and operations.
“Now more than ever the upstream oil and gas industry needs to ensure that business processes and applications are fully integrated, and that the flow of information is seamlessly channeled to the right people to make critical decisions on a timely basis,” said Russell Records, senior partner and CTO of CSC’s Chemical, Energy and Natural Resources Group. “On a recent client project, we learned that only five percent of the data used by the drilling engineering staff was in drilling systems and databases. This study backs those observations, indicating a continued need for improvements in data management, advanced analytics and visualization, and overcoming organizational resistance to changes brought on by more highly integrated workflows.”
“Technology has enabled an enormous increase in the volume of real-time data available to operating companies, which means companies today are dealing with data in motion. Extracting value from this data requires a focus on the technical environment, workflows, and people. The survey results show the industry recognizes information-access challenges and is committed to using information technology to improve operations,” said Judy Maksoud Murray, editor of E&P Magazine.
Survey results indicate a wide range of use of the ubiquitous communications and integration technologies designed to improve data access and collaboration across roles and functions within the E&P sector. “Improved collaboration” was indicated by 28 percent of the participants as the most important factor for productive use of information, while only 18 percent cited technology improvements. Others cited “advanced visualization,” “data quality” and “workflow transformation” as key factors in efficient use of data.
Of the survey respondents, 38 percent believe that the most common cause of these breakdowns is poorly designed or misunderstood workflows. Nearly a quarter of respondents feel that as much as 75 percent of their company’s most important information is siloed in application specific files and databases, and not generally available to cross-discipline users. Half of respondents believe that this difficult-to-access data constitutes as much as 25 percent of the company’s most valuable resource — information and knowledge.
The study also indicates that businesses in the oil and gas industry have been hesitant to invest in new technologies to improve data provisioning, which can alleviate these process slowdowns, with “organizational resistance” highlighted as the reason for their hesitancy. E&P companies are most concerned with investing in technologies at or near the wellhead, including subsurface engineering and geo-science data analysis, management and storage. In many cases, respondents said the goal is the integration of this data with financial and operations parameters to support better decision making.
Ranked from most to least important, respondents saw the greatest promise for improved productivity in the following areas:
- Improved access to technical data and information
- Integrated models and visualization of analytic applications
- Integration of key process workflows
- Real-time collaboration across disciplines
- Integration of operations and business enterprise systems
“Although respondents feel that access to data is improving, the amount of data is increasing and the ability to make timely, informed decisions is not. New tools and applications such as Microsoft SharePoint, wikis, business intelligence tools, and social networking are being used, but aren’t having a consistently positive impact. We are hearing this with our clients as well, and are working closely with them to improve collaboration and workflows across the enterprise to deliver increased production and financial gains,” added Records.
CSC and Hart Energy’s E&P Magazine hosted a webinar on Wednesday, June 30, to discuss the results of the survey and how they see the landscape evolving, as information needs and technology solutions undergo dynamic change. To view the webinar and learn more about the survey results, visit www.csc.com/2010upstreamsurvey.
To learn more about CSC’s Energy industry solutions, visit http://www.csc.com/oil_and_gas.
CSC is a global leader in providing technology-enabled solutions and services through three primary lines of business. These include Business Solutions and Services, the Managed Services Sector and the North American Public Sector. CSC’s advanced capabilities include system design and integration, information technology and business process outsourcing, applications software development, Web and application hosting, mission support and management consulting. The company has been recognized as a leader in the industry, including being named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies for Information Technology Services (2010). Headquartered in Falls Church, Va., CSC has approximately 94,000 employees and reported revenue of $16.1 billion for the 12 months ended April 2, 2010. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.csc.com.