Big Oil, Big Data

2671466610_5ed50aeedeby Angela Guess

Steve Rosenbush of the Wall Street Journal recently discussed the use of Big Data in the oil industry. He writes, “Aboard the Noble Bully 1, Gulf of Mexico—The Noble Bully 1, a new kind of drill ship developed by Royal Dutch Shell PLC to help extract oil in once inaccessible regions of the deepest oceans, doesn’t look anything like a conventional vessel of its kind. Equipped with a new generation of digital technologies, the ship—a 30,270 gross ton behemoth that is the length of two football fields—is able to guide a 21.5 inch wide drill bit thousands of feet below the surface to the center of a target that is only about four by four feet in size. The new design helps Shell drill wells faster, more safely and at lower cost than ever before—part of a revolution in industrial technology that has been an important factor in the increased energy production—and independence—of the U.S. and North America.”

Rosenbush goes on, “Innovations in IT, including powerful new data imaging and predictive analytics, are making it possible for companies such as Shell, BP, PLC, and Chevron Corp. to map and exploit previously uncharted oil and gas fields locked in shale and ‘tight’ rock formations, or buried far below the ocean floor and obscured by thick layers of salt. ‘Since I started out, the water has gotten deeper, the wells have gotten deeper and the technology has gotten much more challenging,’ says David Loeb, Shell’s deepwater operations manager in the Gulf of Mexico, who joined the company in 1975.”

Read more here.

photo credit: Tim Patterson

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