The Canadian oil and gas industry has a long history leveraging data to find reserves and turn those reserves into economic production.
But as industry looks to drive even greater efficiency out of operations, while answering environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns, data usage is becoming more integrated across business functions.
Data that enables operators to identify efficiencies in drilling and production can help company leadership assess ESG and emissions concerns, said Andy Mah, CEO of Advantage Energy Ltd.
“Both the operator and oilfield services need a common view of data in decision-making. Oilfield services have always brought innovation and today that means ways to cut emissions and improve operational efficiencies. That’s the low hanging fruit for oilfield services as operators track the supply chain on emissions targets.”
Mah was one of four industry executives addressing the question of data usage and ESG at a recent webinar organized by the Daily Oil Bulletin and geoLOGIC systems ltd. The webinar follows the release of a related white paper.
While Canadian energy companies have embraced ESG and are now integrating it into their strategies, more can be done, he added.
“On emissions and how we can do better, we need credible data. And this extends into the political and public debate, and in how we find markets for our production.”
Water usage is another example.
“A lot of work has been done on water recycling and reuse,” noted Mah. “But reporting on it is in its infancy. We only capture some of it. A lot of it is hidden in Alberta’s regulatory records and it’s not visible enough. That data needs to be extracted and displayed.”
The need for strong data to back ESG claims is crucial, said David Hood, CEO of geoLOGIC systems.
“There’s very low energy literacy in the general population,” Hood explained. “There is a belief electrifying things will be enough. We believe oil and gas has a huge future going forward, but the industry needs better messaging. Data can help. If we have really solid data we can demonstrate the reality of what we are doing.”
Hood said the Canadian oil and gas industry is very well positioned to tell its ESG story.
“In Western Canada, when we see people come from other jurisdictions, they are astonished by the scale of data we have here. Digital enablement is key. We need more people having access to data so more people can make data driven decisions. Right now it’s a small group using data. And everyone needs to be using the same set of data. From multiple sources of data you get confusion; from a single source you get knowledge.”
geoLOGIC systems recently launched gDC Cloud, a secure web-based platform that enables users to access geoLOGIC data via the cloud.
The need for digital enablement based on a single source of truth is paramount, added Kevin Krausert, CEO and co-founder of Avatar Innovations Inc.
Krausert said there has been a fundamental shift in the capabilities of new professionals entering the industry. They are digital natives and expect to use data and visualization tools in their day-to-day workflows.
“We’re trying to capture that culture of digital enablement. We need to be able to talk in a shared context. We need standardized measurements, otherwise no one will believe what’s happening. The broader public doesn’t trust what we’re saying.”
Operators are primarily focused on operational efficiency when using data, according to a recent DOB survey that informed the subsequent white paper.
There is a strong link between operational efficiency and ESG performance, said Bill Whitelaw, managing director for Strategy and Sustainability for geoLOGIC systems, who moderated the webinar.
As examples, energy savings in field operations tie directly to emissions reductions, and water recycling in completions operations tie directly to water use reductions. This operational data can be used to tell the ESG story.
“The industry has been using data for decades, but things are now at an inflection point,” Whitelaw said. “Industry is using data in a much more sophisticated way to drive decision-making. Technology is allowing users to bring diverse data sets into play.”