Solutions that work for you

The cost of legacy hydrocarbon accounting and production reporting systems is not simply about the prohibitive costs of procurement, deployment and upgrades. It’s also about the opportunity cost incurred by the inability to respond in an agile fashion to changes in the business.

A traditional software solution like Energy Components can be breath-takingly expensive and take an age to implement. Changing it is often hard, requiring highly specialised skills, and just doing an upgrade can be surprisingly costly. Indeed, having to pay someone both for the upgraded software, and for implementing it, is evidence of a broken process. When you buy Office 365, you don’t have to pay Microsoft to upgrade you ever time they make a new software release: it just happens.

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Digital Transformation – a Major Opportunity for Oil and Gas

It seems clear that a focus on digital oilfield has delivered real value to the industry, but the impact was not as broad as it might have been. As William Gibson said: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”. One key problem highlighted in our review of digital oilfield was a lack of a broadly understood definition of what digital oilfield actually means. Without general guidance and widely applicable process and technology, the spread of best practice will be limited by an individual company’s ability to identify and apply developments that might bring benefits to their business.

Looking forward, the energy around digital transformation is very positive, but the key question is how we maximise the impact.

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A Different Way

We run a cloud service for oil and gas. Our goal is to grow organically, and to grow profitability not staff numbers. We value a high degree of autonomy, and we operate entirely virtually. We’ve been extensively using cloud services to run our business for over ten years, and now virtually everything we do, from mail and calendar to accounting and document management, is done in the cloud.

However, we didn’t start out that way. Continue reading “A Different Way”

PRODML and Energistics: Current Status

At our regular Hydrocarbon Allocation (HA) Forum in Aberdeen yesterday, we had a terrific “state of the union” presentation by Laurence Ormerod, Consultant and Project Manager for the PRODML standard. By the way, if you don’t attend our HA Forums then you might want to check out our website for details, and sign up for our mailshots. They are intended to be deliberately free from sales messages, and are generally held in Aberdeen at breakfast or lunchtime.

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Conferences and meaningless PowerPoint usage

An article on open source tools to “make your presentations pop” intrigued me initially, then bemused me, then annoyed me. Ignoring for a moment the desirability or otherwise of having presentations that “pop”, the bemusement came from the realisation that the entire focus of the article was on creating effects and transitions, and absolutely nothing about content. The annoyance began when I realised that several of the oil and gas conferences I’ve attended recently have implicitly taken the same approach, focussing on presentation over content.

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How we can fix standards efforts in oil and gas

I’ve spoken at several conferences about the failures in standards efforts in oil and gas, and I’ve commented on the reasons for these failures. I’ve also highlighted the key characteristics of successful standards efforts in other industries. In the short version, this boils down to my well-worn aphorism “adoption beats perfection”. The longer version is contained in the seminal paper by Hanseth and Lyytinen (“Theorizing about the Design of Information Infrastructures: Design Kernel Theories and Principles”, 2004) which, despite its title, contains material that is relevant for all standards efforts.

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The costs of unreliable data

In a recent survey we carried out, (download the report here), we asked professionals involved in Hydrocarbon Accounting (HCA) how confident they were in their data. Around 65% said that they were “not at all” or only “somewhat” confident in the data they were using as input to the hydrocarbon allocation process. This situation is problematic, given that allocation is all about determining the division of ownership of hydrocarbon products, and that mistakes can have a real and substantial financial impact. Inadequate systems and processes can make it difficult to manage routine issues like mismeasurements, and initially small problems can give rise to a cascade effect with consequences that are difficult to unravel. A failure of compliance is not the least of the potential problems.

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