The Houston Professional Petroleum Data Expo was held last week, and the attendees were certainly excited to interact with each other, many of them attending this event as their first in-person event in nearly two years. There were 40 different presentations, one of which was the keynote, and three of which were presented as case studies by operators. So, while only 10% of the talks were from operators, the content was generally good with a few standouts as expected. The general theme, regardless of the speaker, was consistent. Data Management, quality data, solid processes and buy-in from all business stakeholders remains a key to the success of the business.
With the continued explosion in Data Science, Digital Transformation initiatives, data engineering projects, in combination with reduced headcounts, lower operating budgets, and higher than ever demand for data, energy faces a conundrum. The number of resources that have left the industry completely in the past year, not to mention the tumultuous years since the middle of 2014, is overwhelming. While operators have been hesitant to eliminate geoscience professionals in their key operating areas, there has been an overwhelming number of reductions in the support functions those geoscientists rely on. Much of the historical knowledge now resides in a very small pool of internal resources inside the operators, and this lack of SME’s as the operators continue back to their prior levels of operations is driving up demand for data management services as well as transformative initiatives to continue operating lean and mean into the future.
Operators are now looking at the end-of-year funds as well as their budgets for 2022 and are looking at ways they can clear the hurdles before them. Many are looking to software solutions, the number of which were high for this event both in terms of sponsors as well as breakroom vendor booths and vendor presentations. Some are relying on data experts, several of those were also present in the form of attendees and presenters alike. One thing which felt truly promising was the number of clients (and future clients) who were excited to see Sword with a presence in the US. While Sword has been very active in PPDM both in Europe and Australia, Sword’s move to start operations in Houston late last year was also a welcome sight for the data management folks in attendance. Clearly, the need is high and we look forward to facing that need head-on as we continue to show the industry what Sword is all about in this space.
Two of the operator presentations, one from Apache and another from Murphy, both exemplified the needs and the shortcomings. Both Operators have gone through major organizational shifts over the past year, both see the need for good data practices (governance, management, stewardship, business alignment, etc.), and both realize that while they have made incredible strides, the road in front of them remains long and bumpy. Chevron also spoke about their journey but focused on the “What Is A Well” (WIAW) initiatives they have tackled. WIAW has been one of the most successful educational tools in the industry over the past several years, and the work PPDM have done with it, along with its committee members, data vendors, software vendors, and operators, has been amazing. In 2008, the US started hydraulic fracturing as a majority of its onshore operations, and with it came an entirely new focus on the well, the wellbore, and the process of drilling, completing and producing shale wells. WIAW brought that entire process into the light for everyone to understand and work toward agreeing on for use in their internal systems as well as conferences such as this one. A common language that is understood by all makes the process of communicating business problems and solving those problems so much simpler.
It's hard to look back with anything less than amazement at where Sword was in Houston one year ago today…while over 2,000 people are working inside Sword Group today, hundreds of which are in the Energy industry, there were exactly zero Sword staff in Houston at this time in 2020. As we close out 2021 with this PPDM event, we had 4 in attendance, 3 presenting, and 15 total staff in Houston. As we continue to grow in the region, we expect to be hearing from more and more clients as we head into 2022 with a successful PPDM event behind us, and a doubling of our Houston presence in front of us. What an exciting time for Data Management in Houston!
Thanks, PPDM for a successful event and for allowing Sword to play a role in it.
Rob Gibson is a Data Specialist and Technical Solutions Manager for Sword, based in Houston. With over 25 years of technical experience in Oil & Gas, Rob works with our customers in building solutions to their data challenges. Rob has been a long-time member of PPDM including both sponsoring and participating in a number of workgroups over those years. For further information or to contact directly, please email Rob.Gibson@sword-group.com