Technology Focus: Gas Production Technology (November 2018)
- Scott J. Wilson (Ryder Scott)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 86 - 86
- 2018. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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How many times have you heard that data analytics and machine learning would solve all of our problems, leaving us lucky humans to recline on the beach eating bonbons while robots do all the hard work? Given the widespread adoption of inexpensive real-time automation and metering systems, where do all these new data go? While passing from field operations to the district office, instantaneous well rates and pressures are averaged to daily values; dailies are simplified to monthlies for reporting to management and some regulatory agencies; and even those summaries are further agglomerated into “lease” totals for others, who seem stuck with the data standards they had when they were first conceived—in the 1920s.
Do better data lead to better outcomes for one or even for all? An argument can be made that poor or inaccurate data favor the more cunning, those who can see through the fog (or have access to better alternative data) and position themselves to take advantage of the ignorance of the majority. High-quality data have become a resource in themselves, to be traded and leveraged for personal gain.
I’ve found the world is not so diabolical. Royalty owners, regulators, managers, and technical professionals agree that a minimum standard of monthly oil, gas, water, injection, and perhaps wellhead pressure for each well benefits all. Like audited financial data available to the public for each security listed on a stock exchange, high-quality production data provide the means for all parties to make investment decisions knowing that any “salted” or false production statistics will be vetted by thousands of diverse users, similar to the blockchain concepts that are now so popular.
For at least the next few years, seasoned hands will be required to separate the wheat from the chaff.
And why do professionals lobby for data consistency, write technical papers, and divulge valuable knowledge for the benefit of others? Smart companies know that, in a world of instantaneous data transfer and third-party research, technical breakthroughs mixed from a cocktail of previous techniques are quickly adopted by other operators and only failures are submerged in the rising tide of survivor bias. How many of us know the names of Arps, Aziz, and Bourgoyne while those who hide and obscure their data/results are quickly forgotten, if they were ever known?
In a time of overwhelming data flows (both good and bad), SPE provides a means of sharing meaningful findings plucked from the torrent of big data, not only for commercial gain but also for a legacy of service to our industry and to society as a whole. Until robots can sort the good data from the bad, and write innovative papers for each other to read and critique, the beach will have to wait.
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
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