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How to leverage standards in the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry is both blessed and cursed by the proliferation of various standards for data organization and exchange.  Standards are vital to efficiency in creating and managing a master data management or system integration initiative in any industry, none more so than oil and gas.  The Standards Leadership Council is a roll-up organization that includes represents the industry standards leaders:

Standards are leveraged in two key ways:

  1. Creating a single version of the truth within your business (master data management).
  2. Facilitating inter-system data exchange within your business or between multiple businesses (system integration).

Effectively implementing Master Data Management necessarily involves system integration so it is important to consider both challenges together.  PPDM’s data model is the de facto standard for oil and gas data management.

How do you get started?

Oil and gas master data management always starts with:

  1.  Well naming and identification
    Human-friendly “text” names for wells frequently vary depending on the person, department or software being referenced and are never a good enterprise data key regardless of industry.  Standards such as the API Well Number are very useful but don’t fulfill the true need of a globally unique identifier because API well numbers are typically only assigned after permitting.  How does your organization uniquely identify a well in its lifecycle before it is permitted?  A surrogate key must be established that is guaranteed to be unique.  Furthermore, you must establish a cross-reference table to disambiguate keys across all systems including your master data management solution.  Have you identified all of the source systems in your organization, what they are used for and what data they share?
  2. Well data hierarchy
    Have you asked the question “What is a well?” in your organization?  If so, how many different answers did you get?  Probably more than one.  PPDM has led the way in defining industry standards for the well taxonomy.  Have you thought about the difference between Well Origin, Wellbore, Wellbore Segment, Wellbore Contact Interval, Wellbore Completion and Wellhead Stream?  The beauty of thinking about wells in this way is that necessarily every well has only one valid “Well Origin” at any point in time – this may seem simple but it is vital to executing proper oil and gas data management.

Where do you go from here?

It depends on what your specific business objectives are for the master data management initiative.  Usually, normalizing the concept of “well status” is near the top of the list because status changes in a well (or wellbore or wellbore completion, etc.) may be a workflow trigger in the lifecycle of the asset (e.g., is a lease provision triggered due to spudding or completion).

While the world of oil and gas standards may be daunting to contemplate, software experts such as those of us at Entrance can show you the way.

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