Next time the price of gasoline has jumped or fallen a few pennies, you might pause a moment to consider the years of planning, billions in investment and the role of analytics and heavy-duty data and computing that made your transaction possible. Chevron Corp. (disclosure – a Spotfire analytics client) has several videos and interactive illustrations explaining the path from oil discovery to well construction to actual production – a journey that can take as long as 10 years.
“Blind Faith” isn’t a strategy – especially when you have best-in-class enterprise business intelligence and years of data. That’s the name of Chevron’s largest oil/gas platform, now in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. It uses serious analytics to study oil/gas drilling results and spot patterns or locations where optimal conditions exist. It took years to build the project team and just to plan the logistics of Blind Faith – with analytics to review sites for drilling, pipeline routes and chart the underwater conditions. The equivalent of 29-story building, the rig itself has components built in Norway and Louisiana, assembled in Texas and then taken out to sea. Variables such as weather and tide conditions are just a few of the details you can’t predict – even with the best software and engineers.
I’ve been out to a deep-sea platform in the Gulf – reachable only by ship or helicopter from southern Louisiana. Standing on a narrow ladder hundreds of feet in mid-air over the water, with a 360-degree panorama surrounded by nothing but blue ocean is at once thrilling and terrifying. And seeing the people who support each rig — from cooks to engineers, chopper pilots to data-analyzing meteorologists is to watch an incredible coordinated team effort.
It may not stop the grumbling when we have to pay more at the pump, but it’s a lot harder to take for granted.
Spotfire Blogging Team
Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art