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OPEC Lifts Production in February

Gary Hunt

Gary Hunt

Gary Hunt is President, Scalable Growth Strategy Advisors, an independent energy technology and information services adviser and a partner in Tech & Creative Labs, a…

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Using Visual Data Analysis to Increase Oil & Gas Production Efficiency

North America’s oil & gas production growth is the envy of the world. From the Alberta oil sands to shale plays across the US, we are getting down to business fuelling our economy.  In the first five months of 2012 the US grew domestic oil production by 395,000 barrels per day to 6.2 million barrels per day. (See figure below.)

Non-OPEC Crude Oil and Liquid Fuels Production Growth

Think about that—395,000 barrels per day growth in production is equal to about 15% of the 2.6 million barrels per day in spare productive global oil capacity—the key metric in pegging oil prices.

New technology is enabling domestic energy production growth and solving the most vexing oil patch problems.  New regulations impact well operations requiring even more inspections, data gathering, reporting and validation that the rules are being followed. New technology is working on both fronts.

—- How do we get field data essential to monitor well operations into the hands of field crews in remote locations to assure production?
—- How do we gather and analyze field inspection and equipment readings to detect anomalies that cause performance problems, equipment shut-offs or safety or environmental problems—before they happen?
—- How do we verify that required inspections and field compliance data are being collected and reported to create an audit trail of our performance?
—-How do we monitor field expenses to assure good performance?

OPEC Surplus Crude Oil Production Capacity

Visual data analysis using complex event processing (CEP) technology is rapidly becoming a standard tool in markets to manage the growing volume of data in daily trading of commodities and stocks.  It is also used by energy and utility companies for fast response to field data reported from multiple sources.  Keeping remote field operations running smoothly is key to oil field production growth.  A well site out of service is not making any money.

Visual analysis dashboards use these complex processing engines to assess remote field data readings taken on handheld mobile devices allowing single data entry and stored as historical time series data when the devices are docked at the end of each shift to be combined with other real-time streaming sources that might include changing prices or transaction orders to enable users to filter, correlate and aggregate analyze and visualize data results. The seamless integration of historical data with daily field operating data and real-time events enables much more efficient operations, speeds business transactions and reduces the time to make required well site maintenance and repairs to keep operations running. In addition, detecting anomalous equipment operations or potentially fraudulent behavior in transactions becomes much easier and faster than before.

In the TCLABZ TRACKER solution for oil and gas field data gathering and performance tracking, we chose Panopticon to provide visual data analytics software, treemaps and dashboards as a technology partner for HotButton Solutions HotLeap remote field data gathering solution. Combining the rugged field data capture capabilities of HotLeap used in the Alberta oil sands with the powerful visual data analytics experience of Panopticon’s engines and dashboards used in commodity and financial markets around the world was a perfect fit. These two great products have now been integrated into HotLeap Tracker for the oil and gas industry.Panopticon Heat Map
Panopticon enabled the HotLeap Tracker product to use treemaps and heatmaps— two of the most powerful information visualization techniques available to assess structured field data. The solution displays tree-structured data in an easy-to-understand, intuitive set of nested rectangles.

Treemaps were invented by Professor Ben Shneiderman at the University of Maryland as a way to monitor and analyze disk space usage in his computing lab. Today, these techniques are used in many industries to quickly assess implications and extract insight from large, fast-changing sets of structured data. Panopticon’s Treemaps are unique in their ability to process and display data from real-time streaming sources and complex event processing CEP engines.

Treemaps are not static.  They change dynamically as your data is updated when field crews synch their mobile handheld device. This allows remote non-automated data to be included in the company’s overall analysis of field performance and combine it with the time series and transactional business data of markets around the world.  Fast, easy, reliable.

Combining visual data analytics tools with a consistent, paper-less field data capture capability completes the circle providing an effective way to visualize large volumes of data. The real value of this unique information visualization is quickly apparent when you can zoom, filter and view details on demand. The size of a field in a treemap reflects its importance. The color conveys urgency; good news is usually shown in shades of blue and bad news is normally shown in shades of red. Most people can learn to understand the information presented in this visualization within a minute – even if that treemap is showing data representing an underlying database containing millions of records.


The challenge for oil and gas producers today is to leverage the data available from regular inspection and monitoring to identify operations problems that can interfere with production. When you systematically capture field data and use these fast, easy and reliable visual data analysis techniques your operation will perform better, your production is likely to improve and you can spend your time doing business rather than worrying about regulatory compliance reporting.  The complexity and uncertainty facing the energy industry in global markets has grown significantly. Consequently, ensuring that operations and reporting risks are systematically identified and analyzed is an essential part of a firm’s risk management toolbox.

By. Gary L Hunt

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