The Data Revolution in Energy

Michaël van der Haven, Director Consulting Expert, Oil & Gas at CGI

There is a revolution underway in the oil and gas industry. This sector has decades of experience in collecting and analyzing all kinds of data — from seismic data to data from the pump where you fill up or recharge your car. Until recently, however, the industry struggled to bring all this data together on a single platform. Now, thanks to the intensive collaboration of over 200 parties (including CGI), we have the OSDU Data Platform, a standards-based platform that stimulates innovation, industrializes data management and reduces time to market for new solutions. In this blog, I explore the revolution this signals for the industry.

For many inventions, it can be difficult to determine whom the inventor was, and when exactly it was invented. Take the automobile. In 1885, Karl Benz built the first car with an internal combustion engine running on petrol. This is often acknowledged as the invention of the automobile. Did this invention lead to a revolution in transport, or did it signal the beginnings of a revolution?

The real turning point came when Oldsmobile and Ford rolled out their first automobiles. The Ford Model T in particular made this revolutionary mode of transport available — and affordable — to the masses. So, 23 years after Karl Benz’s invention, the real transition from horse-drawn carriages to motorized four-wheelers became a reality.

The value of something can only materialize when everyone has access to it, not just a few. Indeed, achieving mass is essential for a revolution.

This also applies to data. Data has great potential value, but it becomes even more valuable when all relevant parties have access to it. In the oil and gas industry, while data has been collected for decades, there has been little success in bringing all this data together, until now, with the OSDU Data Platform.

Connecting the energy data ecosystem

The Open Group® OSDU Forum has built this open exploration and production data platform to bring together the enormous amounts of subsurface data the sector generates and stores in application silos. This single platform includes numerous data standards, best practices and a battle-tested architecture of arguably one of the most data-intensive industries.

It is a major achievement, but is it also a revolution? Not unless, like with the Benz car, you have deep pockets. Only financially strong parties such as the super majors and national oil companies have the capacity and capabilities to set up an OSDU platform. For others, it is either too capital-intensive or they lack the necessary IT resources. In North America alone, there are more than 9,000 oil and gas companies. Some comprise just two people with two wells, while others employ hundreds of people and only perform field work.

A revolution is only a revolution when all can take part

At CGI, we recognize the OSDU Data Platform’s enormous potential to enable a data-driven energy system, but we also recognize that it takes greater mass to trigger a revolution. To help, we developed CGI Pivot, a platform based on the OSDU reference architecture. A platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, it provides an instant and cost-effective solution to any organization seeking to benefit from the OSDU Data Platform. This includes firms with little or no IT capacity, as well as companies with massive data volumes that want to save operational capacity.

Having access to data is great, but actually doing something with it is even better. CGI Pivot helps to turn data into valuable insight. It displays data immediately on a map and is supported by embedded intelligence to extract meta data and recognize geospatial data. Its intelligent topology service also can automatically link trajectories and wells while the data is uploaded and can visualize those links in relation to the users. By automating part of technical data managers’ work, it allows them to focus purely on the data they need.

Shifting gears for the energy transition

As oil and gas companies transition (partly or completely) to new energy sources and sustainable energy forms, all their years of data will be extremely valuable in supporting these efforts. Together with the OSDU Forum and the industry, we are actively involved in extending the standards of CGI Pivot to include renewable energy. For example, we are a forerunner in opening up wind and solar farm data to the OSDU Data Platform with our Renewables Management System (RMS) which soon will be available on CGI Pivot.

Join the revolution

The elements to spark an energy data revolution are all there with CGI Pivot: very low entry threshold, simplified implementations, large volume processing, room for growth, and management of data sources. The first production version (based on the OSDU Data Platform Mercury release) will soon be available.

If you are interested in being part of a select group to access to our trial environment, please get in touch with me to learn more.


Michaël van der Haven
Director Consulting Expert, Oil & Gas, CGI

An expert and thought leader in the oil and gas industry, Michaël van der Haven main focus is the development and integration of ICT platforms and applications within the subsurface and wells field. In recent years, Michaël has been specifically involved in the development of the OSDU reference architecture. He has worked with CGI for more than 15 years and also consults with clients in other industries, such as financial and government sectors, on the development of ICT platforms.

Michaël seeks to constantly deepen his knowledge and has obtained various certifications including in the areas of Reservoir Engineering, Geomechanics and Network Analysis from Stanford University.

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