Data Management Q & A - Just What Is Most Important?

As a prelude to Oil & Gas iQ's Data Management For Oil & Gas Online Summit, we spoke to two past speakers, and one who will be presenting this July, about the biggest challenges they face in the industry at the moment.

Mohamed El-Harras, Information Technology Division, Abu Dhabi Gas Development Company


Q. In your opinion, what is the most significant data network management challenge facing operators in the oil and gas industry?

Data & information management is facing many challenges:

  • Exponential data growth and terabyte-sized operation and project data sets
  • Aliening business needs and technology expenditures to ensure the appropriate level of performance, protection and availability
  • Removing dependency on individuals
  • Data and information Integration
  • Data Islands: that is to say, data that is available in silos and scoops
  • Dealing with too many data formats: AutoCAD, Micro station, Excel, Word, scanned images, paper media…etc.
  • Data retrieval: in other words, the lead time to bring ‘data to desktop’

Q. Could you tell me more about how data centralisation facilitates information consistency and accuracy across the entire organisation?

Data centralisation facilitates data consistency and accuracy as It:

  • Eliminates data duplication
  • Offers a single source of truth for accurate data

Q. In which area of data and information management would you say lays ADGDC’s strength?

Data and information management offers the required information for solid decisions for all areas within the corporate sphere, especially within operations, maintenance, engineering and technical projects.


Sulaiman K. Al-Mazroua, Supervisor, IT/ Communications Operations Dept, Saudi Aramco


Q. In your opinion, what is the most significant data network management challenge facing operators in the global oil and gas business?

Every information technology organisation such as the business enabler in Saudi Aramco, faces a main challenge to meet business expectations. It requires high bandwidth through reliable and secure media, best-in-class applications and innovative solutions for the company to meet the world demand for oil and gas. The target is always high availability with continuous performance improvement.

Q. Could you tell me how Saudi Aramco effectively manages their data networks and how that contributes to the overall performance of the organization?

Managing a network with the level of heterogeneity and complexity of Saudi Aramco requires us to establish a customised approach that merges ISO, ITU-T and service provider models under one unified framework that works the best for Saudi Aramco.

Also, tremendous efforts were put in place to align the organisation with ITIL recommendations and most importantly to evolve from system management to a business focused role. For that Saudi Aramco empowered its network management portfolio with a variety of tools - from high level service monitoring portals to deep packet inspection tools - in order to sustain high availability and a top performance network.


Sandeep Kundu, Geoscience Data Manager, Reliance Industries


Q. In your opinion, what is the most significant data network management challenge facing operators in the oil and gas world?

For any solution we need the synergy of technology, people and processes. In the area of data and knowledge management we have more than enough state of the art technology implemented in form of tools and products.

The major challenge is to develop well defined processes and in having people who realise the importance of these processes and carry forward the task of putting these into proactive practice towards effective data and knowledge management.

Q. Could you tell me more about how business intelligence (BI) benefits E&P information management and business decisions?

Business success depends on good decisions, which in turn is driven by accurate and timely information. Business Intelligence is a critical component of an enterprise information management strategy. BI is nascent in the E&P business, and is seen largely as a game-changer that can significantly reduce resource engagement in making efficient and accurate decisions.

Essentially, good BI helps E&P departments turn data into useful and meaningful information and then distribute the information to those who need it, when and where needed, so timely and better informed decisions can be made.

BI allows E&P organisations to aggregate data from a variety of sources enabling better informed and timely decisions in the following areas:

  • Business performance and emerging opportunities.
  • Real-time access to operational activities and results.
  • Confidence in the quality of data in master stores
  • Ability to manage KPIs
  • Proactive response to positive and negative changes
  • More focus on analytics rather that data search and organisation
  • Improved compliance to regulatory authorities

Q. Is there anything else you would like to be featured in the interview?

Indeed, there are areas in BI that need special address:

BI from structured data is well understood and tools to address their cause are in abundance. However, deriving BI from unstructured data is a major challenge. Unstructured data lies scattered across the company in silos.

Their conversion into a structured catalogue in specificity to the business process design is critical in achieving a transactional ECMS (electronic document management system) on which BI tools can reside to enable better decision making.