Big Data in the Oil and Gas Industry: A Promising Courtship




Tankimovich, Michelle R.

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The energy industry remains one of the highest money-producing and investment industries in the world. The United States’ own economic stability depends greatly on the stability of oil and gas prices. Various factors affect the amount of money that will continue to be invested in producing oil. A main disadvantage to the oil and gas industry is its lack of technological adaptation. This weakens the industry because the surest measures are not currently being taken to produce oil in optimally efficient, safe, and cost-effective ways. Big data has gained global recognition as an opportunity to gather large volumes of information in real-time and translate data sets into actionable insights.  In a low commodity price environment, saving time, reducing costs, and improving safety are crucial outcomes that can be realized using machine learning in oil and gas operations. Big data provides the opportunity to use unsupervised learning. For example, with this approach, engineers can predict oil wells’ optimal barrels of production given the completion data in a specific area. However, a caveat to utilizing big data in the oil and gas industry is that there simply is neither enough physical data nor data velocity in the industry to be properly referred to as “big data.” Big data, as it develops, will nonetheless significantly change the energy business in the future, as it already has in various other industries.


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