Engineers, geoscientists, financial analysts, contactors, and others play roles in managing oil and gas wells with a goal of optimizing revenue by using time wisely, maintaining the well’s allowable output, and improving safety.

But more times than not, a multitude of issues stand between getting that goal accomplished effectively and efficiently. Massive amounts of data, time required for analysis, inability to execute, and time-delayed collaboration between those involved are often factors that could hinder the process and cause companies to miss out on potential revenue.

That’s the example Charles Karren, director of oil and gas industry strategy for Oracle, gave in describing the deluge of information companies are facing. He described the scenario after the July 17 release of an Oracle report called “From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges.” The report showed that 22% of average annual revenue was lost due to not being able to leverage information collected.

The report covered an array of industries, including an examination of how much more data oil and gas companies are getting and how well top-level executives grade themselves on managing that information.

Oil and gas company executives reported a 96% average increase in business information collected or managed in the last two years. That data included reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and enterprise data, Karren said. When executives graded themselves, 54% gave their companies a “C” or below. Twenty-seven percent gave their company a “D” or “F.” Only 13% rated themselves an “A.”

The executives’ biggest complaints were: they couldn’t give business managers access to the information they need, 32%; don’t have the right systems in place, 29%; and customer relationship management, 26%. To improve, they wanted direct access for business managers to critical information, improved training to make sense of information, better tools to collect more accurate information, greater ability to act on information, and better designed systems to meet specific needs of the oil and gas industry, the report showed.

“Oil and gas companies need to be able to analyze massive amounts of data [in] real time in order to be able to make more proactive decisions. They need to reduce the lag time between data capture and data analysis and between data analysis and the implementation of the resulting decisions,” Karren said. “In order to become more proactive, they will need to eliminate the impact of disconnected and manual systems that prevent information from being used to execute on proactive decisions.

“They will need to implement systems that allow them to capture real-time operational data, analyze the data in order to make right-time decisions, and execute these decisions seamlessly,” he added.

“We at Oracle think there is an opportunity for an upstream company to analyze massive amounts of real time data, make intelligent recommendations based on everything it knows about the asset, and deploy it at a low total cost of ownership, using industry standards to promote internal and external collaboration,” Karren said. “We can help enable the asset team to leverage all enterprise data and real-time analytics in order to make proactive recommendations, which will enable the oil and gas companies to reduce time to first oil or gas, optimize production output, lower operating costs, and ensure safety performance.”

Market intelligence and safety tied for the areas in which companies said they struggle the most to make sense of data and put it to good use. These areas were followed by project management, maintenance/asset management, and exploration.

Company executives also reported they could make the best use of data to improve business in the areas of finance, production, distribution, safety, maintenance/asset management, and project management.

To combat the problem, Oracle developed a data management system that can be used with existing systems.

“The real time drilling and production data can be converted to industry standard-based well site information transfer standard markup language or production markup language data feed and loaded into an Exalogic appliance that will provide the ability to screen the incoming data using Oracle Complex Event Processing or Real Time Decision,” Karren said. “The results of this real-time analysis would be visualized by the companion Business Activity Monitoring web application.”

The data will be stored in a data model of the company’s preference. The data also can be sent to an Exalytics appliance, according to Karren, which will host additional analytical tools, such as Oracle’s Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, Essbase, and Hyperion.

Contact the author, Velda Addison, at