Future of integrated operations

ConocoPhillips engineer sees domain silos, proliferating analytical tools, spreadsheets and PowerPoints as roadblocks on path to integrated operations. OVS proposed as key enabler.

Speaking at the IQPC Digital oilfields USA conference in Houston this month, Drew Lafleur, (ConocoPhillips) showed how integrated operations (IO) has the potential to ‘increase knowledge and improve the bottom line.’ IO sets out to produce a step change in safety, efficiency and job satisfaction while ‘setting the foundation for growth and continuous improvement.’ The potential for data and digital tools to enhance production and improve economics is widely touted but, Lafleur asks, ‘With all the data we collect, and all the tools we have available, why isn’t this problem solved?’

There are several obstacles on the road to IO. Industry still spends too much time on data mining, QC, integration and on building tools. The silo effect still works counter to a proper alignment of different groups’ work. There is still a large duplication of effort, each team has its own data, analyses and versions of the truth. Industry generally adopts a ‘reactive’ rather than a proactive posture, largely due to the fact that identifying and fixing problems is time intensive. Even a simple business query like ‘How much does my well produce?’ may involve multiple software tools and (still) spreadsheets gathered in the field. Moreover different systems may well return different answers. Variance of 30-50% is not uncommon. In drill planning, methodology from different groups may make it hard to align schedules. Production optimization is particularly fraught as a complex system of multi-variable equations must be solved to identify the rate-limiting factors.

Engineers like to innovate but you have to ask, ‘does the organization need 15 versions of the same analysis tool?’ Some hard decisions must be made as to whether anyone should be allowed to do any analysis in any platform in any way desired! Too often, clean data is kept in engineers’ personal spreadsheets while critical findings are delivered as a PowerPoint. Companies need to capture such knowledge in systems of record so that it is ready for re-use by others. We need to harness the innovators to solve the next problem, not the last one over again. And we need to persuade them to build upon the efforts of others.

The key enabler for ConocoPhillips’ integration effort is the One Virtual Source desktop application from OVS Group. OVS has been baked into ConocoPhillips Innovative asset management toolkit, a portal into apps for well performance improvement, flow optimization opportunity evaluation and drilling and completion best practices. To date, 3,400 data fields from 19 sources have been integrated and efficiency gains of 20-30% have been achieved. OVS’ marketing slogan is, appropriately enough, ‘escape from spreadsheet captivity.’

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