Conoco Integrates the Enterprise (June 1998)

Conoco is implementing an enterprise-wide information management strategy and reveals their vision of Upstream Information Management.

John Adams, GeoData Manager with Conoco Houston, speaking at the Philip C. Crouse and Associates Inc. (PNEC Conference Division) Data Integration Conference in Houston described their experience "from the front line" in integrating a heterogeneous enterprise-wide information management strategy. Conoco's Vision of Upstream Information Management is one of an Information Pipeline running from Finding (exploration) through engineering to the accounts department. The information pipeline should allow "any-to-any" computing with all domains being able to access data in any location. While such a vision may appear commonplace to the casual trade show visitor, Adams was critical of most demonstrations of interoperable software which only work on a simple dataset. The real world is a much harder place to operate in.

Dirty data - dirty work

Conoco's methodical approach centered around the establishment of a company-wide Unique Well ID (UWID) for each well Then came the problem of cleanup of the multiple data sets in use. Conoco deploys Petroconsultants, IEDS and several internal data bases. Wells are linked through the UWID but problems remain with inconsistent data - notably location. Some 70% of wells were successfully matched electronically, but the rest required hand matching. Dirty work but not without its rewards. The geochemistry data base had no location information so the integration with other databases allowed mapping of the geochemical data providing immediate added value. Rules for the matching effort include

consistent daily operations - "don't make the mess bigger".

capture new data continuously on active projects

for legacy data - prioritize and do in "bite-size" chunks.

During this process many documents were located which were not referred to in the well list. It turned out that 2/3 of these were in reality new wells for Conoco.

Hot projects required a different approach. First, catch your project. Adams suggests the coffee machine is a good hunting ground. Check out what data is being processed. "Infiltrate" the workflow and build in unique ID's to be presented through a master catalogue, rather than a stand alone spreadsheet. Conoco's adopted integration standard is Petroconsultants' Iris21.

Tricks of the trade

Adams rounded off with some practical recommendations as follows ;

Focus on process not tools.

Undersell capabilities

Find projects before they become "too hot to touch"

"Walk" items through data flow.

Don't outsource during a project. This is "really not recommended".

Outsource well-defined projects rather than functions.

For software developers, Adams advised;

Never assume that data can be linked by name

Stabilize ID's - these should never change

Manage multiple values - e.g. reserve estimates, but be able to flag "official value"

Define staff roles for enforcing UWI.

For matching, use Well Name, Spud Date, location.

All this effort has had very little help from E&P vendor applications which are described collectively as "very disappointing - they do not realize that they are only one of many". In fact much of the work was done with Microsoft Access, commercial products "are not designed for this kind of work". Conoco hope that there will be more tools developed by vendors and are currently working on this with GeoQuest.

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