Well Master Data Management (MDM) in the "Real World"
Travis Osborne, Vice President - Solution Development
Friday, November 18, 2011
Managing well data is a lifelong pursuit for most Oil & Gas enterprises. From the slower-than-desired transition to a digital world, to the amalgam of disparate systems that run various aspects of the business life cycle, to the constant updates created by business activities – defining and maintaining a reliable set of descriptive information about each well is a game of shadows that has consumed many a company.
There are really only three major obstacles to achieving this goal: people, process and technology. The definition of a well and the upkeep of that information involve nearly every business department. The pace at which this information is defined and communicated differs by group, as does the level of importance placed by each functional area on data being complete and correct. The steps by which the organization defines a well may not be well understood, or even defined for governance. Enter the variety of databases and platforms that play a part in managing the component parts in their own unique way, and it is clear that the number of variables may be enough to either defer or completely torpedo earnest efforts to improve well header information.
Regardless of whether the process is just starting, a simple structure may work best in beginning the process of moving toward a more complete, more confident organization in terms of understanding its well portfolio.
Conduct a Data Genealogy Assessment – A decomposition of the well header, reviewing where the information typically originates, the means by which it is updated, and the degree to which they are maintained requires a baseline. What is the current state and what are the most gaping holes in the well header?
Establish a “Fix Facility” – Systematically, data can be moved in to place to fix the gaps. However, most true improvement of well header data is inspired by practitioners who know the wells better than anyone else. These experts know the values that should be present in these data sources, and they need a process by which these corrections can be made in an orderly fashion.
Define Monitoring and Management Responsibilities – Compelling stewardship for data elements is difficult, but that service can be “inspired” by holding groups responsible for the data quality of attributes created and managed by their department. In addition, the adage “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” applies with well header data. Scoring, reporting, and publicizing the state of parts of the well header can call into action those who may be otherwise “uninspired” to improve.
Now, Think Technology – Many software packages and platforms tout the ability to manage master data – well-centric or otherwise. This is an element of a program, but can be a very expensive stack of DVD media if the business process and discipline to manage well data is lacking. Practical investment in notifying people and systems of data events, tracking changes, transmission of data values and providing a centralized view (if not a centralized database) can play a big part in the movement toward better well header information. However, it should be viewed as a supporting actor rather than the star attraction to well master data management.
There is no way to spin this as an “easy” transformation for any company. The organization at the highest levels must recognize both the cost and return of better well information to the enterprise – e.g., risks avoided, payments made more promptly, field development projects managed more effectively, and so on. In addition, the breadth of the data management problem must be subdivided into stewardship across the various departments. It takes significant time on a day-to-day basis, and it takes discipline to stay with the cause. Small improvements can evolve into longer-term stability for well data, but it will not be without its hurdles.
If you happen to be attending the P2 ASCEND 2011 Conference in lovely San Antonio beginning November 28th, please drop in to our Stonebridge booth to share your thoughts on the topic. In addition, make a note to attend our breakout presentation session on ”Well MDM in the ‘Real World’” on November 29th at 2PM.