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Making sense of big data: Energy executives praise the benefits of digital technology.

Byline: Daisy Creager

OKLAHOMA CITY Executives of Devon Energy, Oklahoma Gas and Electric and other companies on Thursday discussed technology'seffect on the production and delivery of electricity, oil and natural gas at the Oklahoma State University Energy Conference in Oklahoma City.

Devon Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Hager said he has experienced several phases of technology advancements that have made oil and gas more profitable and are "really transforming our operations."

"Through my full career, I don't think I've ever been in a situation to say 'this business is easy. It's not hard to find oil and gas, it's not hard to produce oil and gas for profit,'" Hager said. "You're always facing challenges of one type or another. Technology has always driven changes in this business."

Hagersaid Devon has a decision support system, including control rooms feeding information of every function on all of the company's rigs live, allowing them to monitor hydraulic fracturing and flowback operations at all times.This remote monitoring allows operators to go directly to wells that need assistance instead of driving to well sites blindly, as they did previously.

Devon also has software capable of predicting equipment failure, allowing the company to dopreventive maintenance,which reduces pump downtime, he said. Geosteering,the act of adjusting the borehole position on the fly to reach one or more geological targets, has also improved, ushering in a phase of Shale 2.0, a big-data revolution in America's shale oil fields.

"We are within zone now 95% of the time to a 10-foot vertical," Hager said. "Obviously, the importance of that is when you stay in the right zone, you make better wells. It's really critical you stay in the right zone."

OG&E Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Sean Trauschke said technology has spawned "a whole new world from the customer standpoint," creating the ability to control lights and room temperature from a cellphone, among other things.

At the same time, the proliferation of digital technologies has also increased the possibility of cyberattacks, he said.

"Technology has enabled many things and energy is no exception," Trauschke said. "With all of this technology comes a great responsibility that you manage your business and you understand the implications of what really could happen."

Warwick Energy Group Chief Executive Officer Kate Richard and Chris Buie, director of data science and strategic initiatives, discussed the use of big data large amounts of unstructured data that has been untapped by most companies that could change things for the industry.

"There is this common perception (in Silicon Valley) that oil and gas is this untouched sector where big data has not been disruptive yet," Richard said.

She said traditional data allows companies to analyze past performance, but still-developing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, that allow companies to harness and sort big data make it possible to predict future performance.

Buie compared data to oil, which needs to be extracted and refined to be usable.

"(Untapped data) is costing you money," Buie said. "There's value in that, but if you're not actually extracting that value, you have a net loss and it's holding you back."

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Publication:Journal Record (Oklahoma City, OK)
Geographic Code:1U7OK
Date:May 23, 2019
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