Cloud computing can drive collaboration and workflow efficiency for oil and gas companies

Cloud computing can answer many challenges facing oil and gas companies by ensuring ideal data sets and visualization tools are fully accessible to relevant team members.

But it can be a difficult decision to transition from a traditional (monolithic) IT infrastructure where the organization controls management and security of all hardware, software, databases and applications, towards buying each of its infrastructure, platform and software “as a service,” according to a new white paper released by the Daily Oil Bulletin and geoLOGIC systems ltd.

“There is a compelling case for many companies to migrate data workflows to the cloud,” said geoLOGIC chief executive David Hood. “It can reduce infrastructure investment and the need for IT expertise to manage and troubleshoot. It enables efficient access to data and visualization tools for asset teams wherever and whenever they may need it. And it is scalable to fit the purpose and offers companies the flexibility to access only the data they need.”

Many oil and gas companies have been relatively slow movers to cloud solutions compared to other technology-reliant sectors. Forty per cent of industry respondents to a DOB survey indicate their data is cloud-based. Among this number, some companies have totally moved to the cloud, while others are running hybrid systems with some data cloud-based and some hosted internally. Results from the survey informed the white paper, entitled: Strategies for data-driven value creation within oil and gas.

Companies that have migrated data and intelligence tools to the cloud say it provides improved security and lowers costs. Savings are being driven by the reliability of cloud computing, with less downtime experienced by users due to the automation of many processes, and with data updates and software updates completed without outages.

Other key benefits to cloud computing cited by survey respondents include accessibility, flexibility, data and intelligence sharing, and collaboration opportunities.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the employee work environment, the ability to remotely access data and business intelligence tools from anywhere at any time via an Internet browser has become a major positive upside in favour of cloud computing. Accessibility to the same data for all employees across disciplines and departments is seen as vital by both leadership and employees. Related to accessibility, the flexibility to share data across disciplines to collaborate on projects via a single platform is also a major benefit.

“Post-pandemic, it will be interesting to see what happens when it is safe for all workers to return to the office,” added Hood. “It is possible the industry could see a hybrid work environment with employees splitting their time between the office and working from home. If this happens, shifting at least some data workflows to the cloud could become an essential process for many companies.”

There are several reasons companies say they haven’t fully transitioned to the cloud. Cyber-security remains an obstacle. While many companies are willing to access third-party data and intelligence tools via the cloud, they perceive the need to maintain control over internally generated data and tools, said survey respondents. Legacy investment in IT infrastructure is also seen by some as an impediment to a purely cloud-based future.

Some larger companies perceive the benefits of the cloud but believe the large volume of data and internal infrastructure they currently manage could make the transition more expensive and time-consuming. Meanwhile, many smaller companies — including oilfield service companies — are concerned they lack critical mass to justify the switch.

geoLOGIC recently launched its gDC Cloud platform to answer these concerns. “The gDC Cloud is a secure, web-based platform that provides flexibility for lighter data users within large companies who may only use a handful of data sets in their regular workflows,” said Terry Jbeili, geoLOGIC’s president and chief operating officer.

“For smaller operating companies the gDC Cloud provides the benefits of seamless access to geoLOGIC’s premium data and advanced visualization tools as well as the benefits of cloud computing without the expense of maintaining a legacy system,” he said. “The same holds true for oilfield service companies looking to leverage data and business intelligence to gain an edge in what remains a hyper-competitive market.”

Click here to download the white paper: Strategies for data-driven value creation within oil and gas.

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