Ovum’s Oil & Gas Technology research stream focuses primarily on the industry’s exploration and production (“upstream”) segment and the ways in which IT can be put to better use to enhance exploration technologies, improve operational visibility, optimize well production, link production data to trading systems, and more.
Key research themes
Creating the “smart” oilfield
There are significant opportunities to use technology to improve oilfield operations. A fundamental challenge for IT vendors is to adopt the best strategy to compete or cooperate with the oilfield’s many entrenched incumbents. However, by bridging the “culture gap” between IT and oil & gas, exploration and production companies can start to achieve greater business insight by embracing next-generation analytics, asset, and product management solutions, integrating siloed data and applications, and implementing solutions for oilfield safety and environmental management.
IT investment in the oil & gas industry
Exploration and production companies are cash rich. Which IT solutions are front of mind as they look to invest: production management; operations management; asset management; safety/environmental management? Industry surveys will reveal the priorities for decision-makers, along with adoption trends and the principal pain points in oil & gas IT.
The role of IT in oilfield asset management: Helping E&P companies move from a run-to-failure model to one based on realtime data and predictive analytics
Oil and gas producers manage hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of machinery, equipment, tools, and other assets that must be available in good working order when needed, wherever in the world that may be. Historically, asset management was limited to a “run to failure” model, which has major drawbacks in production stability and cost management. Newer methods incorporate data on mean time to failure, enabling better predictions of when an asset is likely to need service or repair. But real-world conditions vary so much that even these predictions can be wildly off. In an ideal world, producers would know in realtime when a given asset needs service or replacement and be able to optimize such activities. However, these techniques are inherently data-intensive and rely on advanced analytics to deliver full value.
Oilfield communications poised for change
After years of pursuing separate standards initiatives, the exploration and production industry has launched a new initiative to harmonize standards for managing and sharing well information, production data, reservoir characteristics, and more; addressing latency and bandwidth limitations in oilfield communications that have come to the fore with the rise of cloud computing, Big Data, and realtime analytics.
IT meets tough environments, unconventional fuels
All the “easy” oil and gas reserves have been found. E&P companies face tougher, more exacting, higher-risk environments and conditions – narrower oil- and gas-bearing strata, high-precision drilling and fracking, deep water, extreme weather, etc. How can IT help address these challenges? So-called “unconventional” sources such as shale gas, coal gas, and tar sands can help meet growing demand, but they are inherently complex and increasingly controversial. They will be subject to strict permit processes and close long-term monitoring requirements that won’t be possible without IT automation.
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Oil and Gas Technology analysts
Warren is Ovum’s Lead Analyst for Energy & Sustainability, heading up a team that covers a broad range of energy-related IT topics, from oil and gas production to utilities to energy management. He has been a technology analyst for 14 years.
Warren’s oil and gas background includes a bachelor’s degree in geology, “hands-on” experience as a roughneck and well logger, and several years as a journalist covering exploration and production, economics, and regulatory policy in the Western US.
Stuart is Ovum’s Principal Analyst for Energy & Utilities.
His principal area of focus is technology adoption within the utilities and oil & gas industries.
Stuart has 16 years’ experience as an analyst, which includes time spent with Statoil improving its storage of seismic data. He has a master’s degree in information science from City University and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Oxford Brookes.