Smarter oil and gas means much more than simply extracting and refining fossil fuels more efficiently.
The oil and gas industry is all over the news and in our lives every day: heating our homes, fueling our vehicles, and providing source for plastics and other materials. But global demand—especially for natural gas—is rising, ready supply is slowly depleting, and the call for environmentally safer methods is growing.
The risky, dangerous, expensive process of petroleum exploration and production, coupled with the complicated workings and declining profit margins of refining and going to market, means that "smarter" isn't just an ideal. It's a mandate.
Tapping the reservoir of possibilities
In a digital oilfield, instrumentation enables such leading-edge technologies as horizontal drilling and multilateral wells, but completely integrated operations can be hard to find. Heavy reliance on human rather than analytical interpretation, especially when the outcome of readings and measurements are isolated instead of shared and analyzed for patterns, can only slow the rate of progress.
When even small improvements can add up to multi-billion dollar payoffs, vast gains can be made from insights and actions when data is integrated and analyzed in real time. Three key areas stand out as ways the industry can work smarter:
Enhanced exploration and production
- Integration of seismic and geologic data from multiple sources, and use of advanced data modeling combined with supercomputing to increases successful recovery in the field
- Analytics, optimization and visualization that can render increasingly complex data in more intuitive ways for more effective field production
- Extending the lives of oil and gas fields by achieving optimal recovery of oil-in-place
Improved refining and manufacturing efficiency
- Near-real-time visibility into operations to help control costs and optimize the performance of employees, assets and facilities
- Advanced analytics that support the development of actionable insights and enable more agile responses to variables such as market dynamics and supply chain dependencies
- Definition of performance indicators to address safety, environmental impact and regulatory compliance
Optimized global operations
- Shared operational information across professional, geographic, national and chronological boundaries
- Sensor-based technologies that capture real-time field, plant, pipeline and logistics information to help improve planning and decision support
- Advanced analytics to help optimize supply chains worldwide
IBM client solution centers enable clients to learn best practices and simulate, test and collaborate on solutions
Taking a smarter approach
The path to smarter oil and gas operations consists of a series of steps that progresses from instrumentation to integration and intelligence. In sequence from production data capture and analysis to asset optimization, these steps greatly shorten time-to-value and increase investment returns. Collectively, they reflect the whole view of the field or refinery instead of a fragmented mix of siloed technologies.
IBM's deep experience in the oil and gas industry includes tested solutions for both the upstream and downstream segments of the industry, from exploration to distribution.
The importance of the oil and gas industry in our economy cannot be overestimated, and is matched only by the size of the self-reinvention it must execute in its transformation. As a trusted partner, IBM's solutions apply instrumentation, interconnectedness and advanced intelligence to the awesome physical and financial challenges of this industry.