Digital Oilfields: 7 Things To Be Aware Of Before Investing In New Technology

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Tim Haïdar


The oil and gas industry is one of the most pioneering sectors of global industry today. In the past decade we have perfected how to extract oil and gas from solid shale rock formations and started to exploit ancient reserves kilometres below the seabed.

Despite the technological prowess, innovative spirit and imagination that is propelling the industry to greater, hotter and deeper challenges, there is still an almost innate conservatism within the sector when it comes to adopting new technology. Digital oilfields are no exception….

The revolution will be digitised

It is estimated that the world's technological per-capita capacity to store information has roughly doubled every 40 months since the 1980s. As of 2012, 2.5 quintillion (2.5Ø1018) bytes of data were created every day. In the USA, the National Security Agency collects up to 296 terabytes worth of raw data every day. That is the data equivalent of four times the US Library of Congress every 24 hours.

In the Big Data era, the digital oilfield, an end-to-end integrated operation system in which real-time data capture helps to optimise everything from production and drilling to completions and safety, is the ultimate expression of technological advancement in the sector.


The potential of the digital oilfield is immense, and the gradual shift towards end-to-end digitisation is expected to tap into an estimated additional 125 billion barrels of oil, equal to the current estimated reserves of Iraq.

However, in an industry where "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" has been a motto to live by since day zero, reticence to embrace such change is palpable. In this piece, we look at seven areas that you should consider before embarking on any venture that will necessitate an overhaul of your systems.

1) Feasibility & Budget constraints

The first consideration that any technology reformers will have to face up to is the cost of buying and implementing new solutions within the framework of a business unit’s allocated budget.

Once you have identified whether there is the financial breathing space to plan for a new technology purchase, the next step is how much leeway your budget gives you for product selection, and to align your objectives with the right price.