Science Fiction Now A Fact In The E&P World

Unconventional Oil & Gas Center, website, June 2, 2014 http://www.ugcenter. ... rld_134336

By Amy Logan, Hart Energy

FORT WORTH, Texas -- For any pioneer, the future holds great promise and great mystery. Solving mysteries often requires overcoming challenges before the rewards can be fully realized. But what if a pioneer was given a time machine that allowed him to glimpse into the future before returning to the present? That pioneer would likely use that knowledge to prevent the hurdles in his way and to discover even greater resources he might otherwise have missed, allowing him to potentially reap greater rewards.

For Atanu Basu, CEO of software development firm Ayata (a Sanskrit word for “future”), there was no time machine available when he was first pioneering his technology. Instead, he helped to create that virtual time machine of the future, better known today as predictive and prescriptive analytics.

“We don’t claim to be experts in oil and gas; we are not,” he said. “But we have developed a technology that’s finding application in oil and gas for doing things that are possible using the data you are generating.”

Basu participated in a Q&A session, “Big Data And How It Can Change Oil And Gas Operations,” on May 22 at Hart Energy's DUG Permian Basin conference.

“The basic premise [of predictive and prescriptive analytics] is that with all the data that is being collected and stored and generated—most of it in formats that are not easily digestible by today’s systems—you can see a problem coming before you hit it and you can see an opportunity brewing that you would have otherwise missed,” he said. “Not only that, but the software can prescribe the best way to tap into an opportunity that lies ahead that you would have otherwise missed.”

This technology has been around for years, he said, but it took nearly a decade before enough of the appropriate people took notice and word of the technology made its way to the oil and gas sector. Today’s pioneers in the oil and gas industry are the operators and service companies that are constantly seeking new ways to maximize production in existing wells and to discover new assets to drill and complete. As technology improves, so does the equipment and knowledge of these pioneers. But when it comes to harnessing all of the knowledge captured in a way that can improve operations, the industry has to rely on software that is capable of handling the “big data” collected, Basu said.

Basu recommended thinking about big data in terms of “the three V’s:”

  • Volume — the massive amount of data collected;
  • Velocity — the speed at which the data is being collected and assimilated; and
  • Variety — the different types of data such as videos, images, texts, sounds and numbers that must be gathered and combined to create a complete picture for the end user.

Ayata’s software takes those three V’s into consideration when combining the data and producing reports that will help the operator determine its next move, Basu said.

“In Eagle Ford and Permian, operators have hundreds of thousands of acres that they have mined, drilled, fracked and completed and they will produce on 10% or 15% of those,” he said. “How can we take the operational data that is being collected and generated from the wells that are already there, and the geology from the rest of the land that they own or lease, and put them together so we can find the next well and make it perform better than the ones that came before? It’s a basic adaptive learning environment. The data that is gathered has helped to make it better and that’s the premise of some of these technologies by Ayata and others that you will see coming to oil and gas.

“We are taking these static data sources [images, texts, numbers, etc.] and putting them all together to create recipes for prescriptions to improve performance and reduce cost. Some of these technologies were science fiction before, but they are not any longer.”