Book Review: Intelligent Digital Oil and Gas Fields

A comprehensive guide to the digital oilfield from well-qualified specialists.

Intelligent Digital Oil and Gas Fields* (IDOF) by Gustavo Carvajal (BP America), Marko Maucec (Saudi Aramco) and Stan Cullick (Rare Petro) is a 350-page, information-packed resumé of the digital oilfield movement. The authors experience of the DOF began in the mid 2000s when, as specialists from Halliburton, they worked on Kuwait Oil’s flagship KwIDF project.

An introductory chapter sets out the essential technological and business underpinnings of the DOF and provides a brief outline of major industry initiatives, Shell’s Smart Fields, BP’s Field of the Future, Integrated Operations initiatives from ConocoPhillips and Statoil and I-Fields from Aramco and Chevron.

Other chapters cover instrumentation, data conditioning (but not data management – see below), analytics, workflow automation and smart wells. These are pitched at a very accessible level and should be useful for giving students and domain specialists a good (if uncritical) view of the big picture. Coverage includes a fairly extensive top-level treatment of AI and machine learning in predictive analysis of equipment failure.

The workflow automation chapter covers all bases but suffers from an issue that permeates IDOF. The authors share the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ reluctance to name to a piece of software. This misguided avoidance of ‘commerciality’ is curious. Is all software ‘commodity?’ Can a book about the digital oilfield be written without mentioning the PI System?

The topic of data management is touched on in the introduction but poorly developed elsewhere in IDOF which may well reflect the state of the art! The introduction has it that in the early days, oils thought that the DOF was ‘simply IT or data management,’ while ‘it is so much more.’ It is indeed, as Oil IT Journal has demonstrated since well before the DOF was dreamed-up. Shame you forgot to mention that guys! No hard feelings though, IDOF is a major undertaking and significant contribution to the DOF literature. A must-read for all practitioners.

* Elsevier, 2018 ISBN 9780128046425.

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