Improving the Efficiency of Oil Drilling With Big Data

Today's global economy runs so much on oil that we cannot envisage a future that is devoid of it. Unfortunately, oil is a non-renewable resource which means it is likely to run out sooner or later.  One way to prolong the presence of oil reserves is to improve the efficiency of the drilling process so that any wastage related to it is reduced. Big data plays an important role in improving the efficiency of the drilling process as it provides greater insights into the nature of deposits at any given place.

Before going into a discussion on how big data can make oil drilling more efficient, let us briefly dwell on the nature of oil deposits. Millions of years ago, plants and animals absorbed sun and stored them in the form of carbon molecules. When they died, they got buried underground and over time, they began to release heat and pressure. The amount of pressure and heat they released coupled with the nature of biomass determined the type of oil that was formed. After oil was formed, it moved through tiny pores in the surrounding rocks. As a result of this process, oil is not found in large pools, rather in layers of rocks and sometimes between grains of a rock. This oil is stuck in a hard surface and this makes oil exploration and drilling an arduous task.

Big data can help to ease this process of drilling.

First: the geological data of a particular region that is captured through different sensors creates large amounts of unstructured data. This data, along with structured data that is already available about a region is combined together in big data to come up with meaningful analysis. Using this analysis, it is possible to efficiently identify the specific parts of a region that has the highest amounts of oil deposits, so that companies can focus their resources on those specific areas.

Second: this big data analysis can help oil companies to better predict business outcomes and even make real-time decisions that will give them a competitive advantage over that of their competitors.

Third: using the available data from sensors, big data can help companies to find new oil deposits that are otherwise hard to find. There are some reservoirs that are around 35,000 feet below the earth's surface. At this depth, the nature of rock as well as the surrounding topology can be dynamic, so it is important to have precise information before undertaking an expensive drilling process. This information can be provided by big data analysis.

Drilling entails substantial environmental and human safety concerns.

Every topology is different, so it is essential to have a unique recipe for extracting oil out of every reservoir in a safe and efficient manner. To make this possible, oil and gas companies need big data insights as it will help them to create that unique process needed for each oil deposit.

In all, big data has to be embraced in the oil drilling process at the earliest as it can prove to be vital for the continued existence of human society as we know it today.

Article written by Lavanya Rathnam
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