Invaluable data in an oil and gas asset

The oil and gas asset has five phases: exploration, appraisal, development, production and decommissioning. The invaluable data of its five lifecycle phases is essential throughout the lifecycle of oil and gas assets. During the initial phases, geological and geophysical data, reservoir data, drill logs and well details are required to estimate hydrocarbons, reservoir potential and plant design. These data will be reviewed during the production period for the production of hydrocarbons according to the field development plan (FDP). Oil and gas production involves a wide variety of statutory and legal approvals. These approvals require specific data for each approval. There should be communication and connectivity for people working on these approvals throughout the asset lifecycle. Likewise, the maintenance history is also of a similar type; Current and future active maintenance engineers need past data and history of equipment and facilities to ensure the availability of production facilities. Thus, many instances require data; otherwise, there will be a loophole in the exploitation of oil and gas assets.

Common (shared) network folders

Some organizations maintain a common record for data management. These records have write, read, and no access depending on the individual’s needs, and are maintained by the people who generate and process the data. These files are under high security under the vigilance of the IT team with daily backup. The owner of the case must ensure that the right data is in the case and that the bad is not. Unnecessary data in the folder makes it difficult for people to retrieve data and places a burden on the IT team for backup. Folder naming and segregation makes data recovery easier, unless the data is not needed. If an organization does not have a common records system, it should implement one for better asset management. These common files must be centralized at the asset level.

Some organizations have well-maintained data management systems with a shared folder on the network, even for day-to-day activities. Everyone is also working on these files on a daily basis in the network, and these details are viewed by the right people. Network folders have many advantages such as no duplicate files, instant results for internal customers (the quality lab places the data in the network folder, the process can see the results and take immediate action), data security, less email communications, centralized data availability, data backup, data available in one place, not in multiple local systems, system dependent and no need to depend on one person. In addition, these common records are the vigilance of the IT team for data management, and there is no loss of data.

Messaging system

Some organizations are not well disciplined in messaging protocols, such as people sending emails to too many people, and most “CCs” are unnecessary. Even the asset manager (head of the asset, with responsibility for all functions of an oil and gas asset) receives too many emails per day. This inappropriate system allows people to send too many emails, and most of those emails are not opened by the recipients. Under this avalanche of unnecessary emails, important emails can be ignored or missed by the person who needs to pay immediate attention to that particular email.

Some organizations are well disciplined in sending emails; the right email goes to the right person, including the “To” and “CC”. The asset manager obtains the Consolidated Daily Progress Report (DPR) which is compiled from the DPRs of all departments. Each mail with “To” to a particular person requires its action, and “CC” to a particular recipient requires information for that particular person.

Additionally, these organizations maintain common email folders for emails that require the attention of many people on that particular folder. This mail will be there for a fixed period as decided by management and monitored by the IT team. Usually, these common e-mail folders are created based on groups that require this communication. This common email folder system saves a huge amount of email data storage for the IT team and avoids too many emails in individual inboxes.

Employee attrition and change

The main data communication gap is generated by the employee leaving the organization and the person taking that position. If a person leaves the organization, their computer is returned to IT as part of the [separation]; her email is deleted from the company network and all data and communications from her are in vain. The new person [experiences] a gap and lack of vital data and communication of its [predecessor]. In this type of situation, common network folders and common e-mail folders reduce the maximum possible gap.

Isolated PCs

In some organizations, employees keep vital data in individual personal computer (PC) files. If something happens to the hard drive, like a crash or corruption, the organization is missing this important data. Some employees are immature or non-transparent and keep vital data in local PC folder to show their importance and individuality by hiding data. The asset manager of an organization should ensure that vital data is not stored in the individual folders and, instead, is stored in the network folder with secure access.

Different software packages used in an oil and gas asset

In an oil and gas asset, many software packages are used for a wide variety of activities. Most of these systems are isolated and are not connected to centralized data management systems. These software packages, in general, have a database and an application. These application and dataset backups should be performed in the centralized data management system along with other network folders on a scheduled basis.

Digitization and the need for a centralized data management system

From the first phase of the oil and gas asset, data should be digitized. Terrain details, geological maps, seismic studies, lithological maps, formation assessment reports, reservoir details and maps, details of drilling and completion of wells, drawings of the plant, detailed plant documents, maintenance histories, statutory details, etc. must be digitized and stored in a central database management system with secure access. The lack of availability of this data for the current decision-making team leaves the organization vulnerable.

The keys to success

A successful oil and gas organization can maintain a system dependent data management system and a non-person data management system by maintaining a centralized data management system with network folders, common email folders, and data backup with a systematic protocol for employee communication and data storage.

Main illustration of centralized data management system at asset level


Deputy Managing Director – OGT (Chemical Production), KG Asset



Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Author Tata LN Murthy is an oil and gas professional with 21 years of experience in upstream deep water, shallow water and onshore oil and gas fields. He acquired knowledge and skills in eight areas of oil and gas operations (chemistry, inspection, corrosion, IT, HSE, operations, oil and supply, and contracts). Murthy has published three books on personality development and 28 articles (unique and self-written) in 17 areas (corrosion, environment, quality, projects, maintenance, operations, finance, asset integrity management, asset management , security, legal and statutory, procurement and contracts, inspection, chemicals, security, training and human resources) of oil and gas asset management, which includes an article on legal and statutory compliance for the start of oil production and de gaz in the March / April 2018 issue of OILMAN magazine.

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