Oracle Executive Forum, Houston

Business intelligence for Petrobras, Pride. Silver Creek deal on data quality. Paradigm on ROI.

About a hundred turned up for Oracle’s oil and gas event in Houston last month. Rich Clayton, Oracle’s VP business intelligence believes that IT spend should be maintained during the downturn, with a focus on information visibility through a consistent, enterprise-wide approach. There is a need to rationalize analytical tools and link financial, upstream and operation information into an ‘oilfield performance management system.’ Clayton has been working with Petrobras. Four years ago, there was ‘no visibility and no single strategy.’ Since then Petrobras has rectified the situation with ‘phenomenal’ results. Time spent on report preparation is down from two days to four hours.

Clayton, who was previously with Hyperion before its takeover by Oracle, proselytizes in favor of using proper business intelligence tools rather than Excel. Oracle’s answer in this space is Essbase, an analytical tool that offers similar functionality to Excel, but with a database running in the background. Poster child for Essbase deployment is Pride International. Pride uses several Hyperion tools as follows*. Hyperion financial management is used for USGAAP consolidations and SEC reporting. Hyperion Planning provides Prides annual budget and rolling forecasts. Essbase is used for management and ad-hoc reporting. Excel use has not completely disappeared. Essbase OLAP cubes are accessible from Excel, allowing users to create their own reports and queries. Rather than replacing spreadsheets, Essbase has created a new productive use for them.

Oracle has entered the data quality arena through an OEM agreement with Silver Creek Systems. Oracle’s new data Quality Cleansing and Matching Server, based on Silver Creek’s DataLens uses patented semantic technology to analyze, enrich and correct product data from multiple sources. Silver Creek has one oil and gas reference, oil country tubular goods supplier, McJunkin.

Paradigm CFO Gary Morris described how the downturn was impacting the geophysical/software business. Paradigm is seeing competition of various groups within the company for resources. This is leading to some ‘tough choices.’ Morris notes that calling the shots is hard. Return on investment (ROI) estimates vary within the company. There is a need for better ways of predicting ROI from digital technology. Paradigm is taking a new approach, working to figure the ROI of reprocessing seismic data. Compared with a reshoot or with getting the wrong image, getting the velocity model right can be shown to provide a huge ROI. More from

* Additional information kindly supplied by Pride International.

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