Finding Eureka Moments in Ocean Data, Not Ocean Depths

September 14, 2015 • Blog Post • By Quartz Creative


  • In the oil and gas industry, legacy reporting tools such as tables and spreadsheets make it difficult to identify business patterns
  • Real-time data visualization can inform oil and gas industry professionals when equipment is idling to help save billions of dollars

Big Data analytics are only as good as the visualizations that explain them

About one-third of the average oil and gas companys budget is wasted in idle equipment. Avoiding inactivity for drilling rigs waiting for actionable information is essential, but regulators and consumers are putting exploration under increased scrutiny as drilling moves out of the depths and onto land. Its never been so critical for these companies to move quickly, and simultaneously so risky.


Remote sensors, drones and mobile field solutions are allowing the oil and gas industry to lower exploration and development time. These devices have the useful side effect of generating data, too. Oil and gas companies have long used data analytics to improve the efficiency and accuracy of their drilling, but with more and more of their speed predicated on automation, theyve never had quite this much data to parse.


Today, most of the reporting tools used are set up for the data to be analyzed later. Tables, spreadsheets and fixed reports dont make it easy to discern trends or patterns beyond the biggest outliers - at least not without lengthy analysis.

Online marketers pioneered real-time analytics on the web, and their success has taught business one thing: appearances are everything when it comes to visualizing data. Dynamic 3D visualizations typically use algorithms to turn live statistical data into a visual metaphor thats easy for people to intuit, like a speedometer. That helps make decisions unambiguous and comprehensible, cutting down complexity for staff managing several systems at once.



Seadrill is a London-based drilling contractor with 69 rigs including drillships, semi-submersibles and ultra-deepwater equipment for harsh environments. Befitting a modern fleet, its equipment is blanketed in sensors. Data analytics allow the company to turn on cost savings, safety and operational insights without installing any new hardware.


A typical analytics dashboard for drilling operations starts with historical analysis. Operational data from several months of mining will be analyzed from a small group of wells along roughly 200 parameters. Once the computer has learned how to characterize the circulation and drilling systems, it can identify and map the location of sidetracks and stuck pipes, so new recovery attempts can steer clear.


By drilling accurately around hazards, exploration teams can stay at a site longer and predict their next moves, keeping the demon of downtime at bay. According to one estimate, cutting five percent in idle equipment time would save the oil and gas industry about $88 billion a year. And extracting just one percent more from existing fields would yield the equivalent of three years worth of drilling. Today, much of the data generated by control systems, sensors, drilling instruments and pipeline data is being warehoused for regulatory purposes or later analysisthe Big Data era ensures that companies that don't adapt will sink to the bottom.


HPE Delivers Worlds Largest Arm Supercomputer for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Press Release

PODCAST: Vapor IO, Public vs. Private Cloud and the Power of the Edge

Blog Post

HPEs Spaceborne Computer Successfully Powers Up in Space and Achieves One TeraFLOP

Blog Post