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Quorum: investing in technology saves time and money

Oilfield Technology,

Finding, drilling, and completing oil and gas wells is capital intensive, though for years the price of oil allowed producers to employ old manual processes in production and still turn a profit. With the shift in the market, process productivity has a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. Efficiency is no longer a luxury; it is required for survival.

Big data and analytics are being leveraged by companies striving to improve production output and extend the life of their assets. Bad decisions tend to result from gut feelings rather than data. Improvements are made, some through trial and error and others via brute-force analysis.

For any company that expects to make it through this or any future downturn, Quorum states that data is the key to unlocking the secrets to efficiency. Industry leading producers have been employing analytics for years. Collecting and evaluating data on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis for oil and gas production means problems can be identified and adjusted faster with fewer demands for field personnel time.

Quorum’s experience has shown oil and gas producers are able to make incremental improvements that compound over the entire productive life of a well and deliver long-term return on investments. Technology and information have been lockstep with capital expenditures for decades, and production operations and the corresponding operating expenses were largely ignored. Real continuous improvement strategies during production have been lacking until recently, which is why most leading experts and technology innovators are focused on production optimisation that leverages process control automation and preventative equipment maintenance.

The ability for companies to collect, process, and analyse production and operational data has never been easier. Embedded devices and sensors make it easier to collect data at an ever-increasing rate; while cloud storage technologies make it simpler to store the data.

Production optimisation is not solely dependent on producing more oil and gas all the time; to truly optimise production, companies must produce smarter with less overhead. Efficient E&Ps have already introduced mobility into every aspect of operations. Accuracy is a side effect of manual data collected at the source using smart devices such as tablets. However, capturing a set of important data points once a day by sending a field technician out for that daily trip is incredibly inefficient.

Utilising devices and sensors to capture pressures, rates, and equipment control data on high frequencies yields far more accurate data sets, improving an engineer's ability to make production decisions. Intelligent systems must also deliver information back to the field technician, providing actionable information rather than just a better means of collecting data. Real value is created from data when informational context and associations are made inside and outside of an organisation.

Specialised applications are available to solve specific and complex problems in the energy industry. However, good decision making in select areas of the business is not enough to thrive in today's energy market. Companies must execute in all areas of the business, on top-performing projects, with impeccable timing, and be ready to shift resources as market conditions change- all while continuing to operate their existing assets.

Now that field equipment is outfitted with intelligent sensors and systems, it takes the right application to collect and leverage that data to help show ‘the big picture,’ to have the information faster and allow companies to make better decisions at the right time. Now companies can maximise production by capturing and integrating data from multiple sources, such as pumpers in the field and remote SCADA system, able to deliver data on demand. Using smart tools for field data capture, operations management, SCADA, measurement, and reporting allows the integration of field operations and eliminates manual processes.

Minimal capital expenditures are required to employ an integrated data capture and analysis solution, and ROI is swift, typically in six months or less. Comprehensive report and management-level dashboards offer complete visibility into operations as well as prevent downtime and speed issue resolution.

In the current market environment, companies are looking for return on investment for any budget expense. Solutions that provide scalability and reliability while saving time, money, and reducing risks of data loss and latency are just the building blocks that need to be in place to be ready and accelerate when prices recover. Current market volatility provides proof that optimisation is needed across the oil and gas value chain. Companies that leverage data to optimise business processes will not only survive, but thrive during market downturns and dominate the industry on the next upswing.

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