Michael Heagney, research director for the Oil and Gas practice at Energy Insights, on the role of technology in oil and gas companies

October 2007
Oil and gas companies typically are large global organizations with extensive budgets that must continually deal with huge amounts of data. According to Michael Heagney, research director at Energy Insights with over 30 years of industry experience, the need for a scalable infrastructure to manage information overload is one of the biggest challenges facing the oil and gas industry. Firms need to begin implementing smart analytics tools coupled with a robust database to solve data management problems.

PROFIT: How does technology help with oil and gas industry problems?

HEAGNEY: The oil companies do a lot with technology—beyond IT and software—that the public isn't aware of. The technology used in deepwater drilling is mind-boggling. These companies go through 12,000 feet of water before they even begin drilling into the earth, and they have horizontal wells that go on for miles. So the most important issue for these companies—as far as technology is concerned—is how they can reduce costs. They want to squeeze the most out of everything they spend. Because oil and gas companies produce so efficiently, a gallon of pure water costs more than a gallon of gas. Other business drivers include increasing reserves, recovering more energy from known oil fields, and addressing the issue of an aging workforce.

PROFIT: What can other industries learn from oil and gas and vice versa?

HEAGNEY: I think there's not enough cross-pollination of ideas among different industries, such as financial, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and mining. These industries don't do a good job of looking at their peers in other industries and wondering what they can learn from them—everyone wants to reinvent the wheel. For instance, oil and gas certainly can learn lessons from the mining industry. And other industries can learn from oil and gas's 100 years of experience working on a global scale. It's a global economy today, and there's a lot to be learned about working efficiently on huge, complex, monolithic projects. Oil and gas companies are the kings of knowing how to work on a global scale, but I'm not sure other industries are interested in looking over the fence and learning from them.

PROFIT: How can Oracle benefit oil and gas companies?

HEAGNEY: Oil and gas companies know they can do a better job of integrating, combining, and making information available in real time. Oil and gas companies look to independent software vendors to help them with this issue. Oracle isn't writing seismic algorithms, but it can help companies find better information faster with metadata stored in a database. Oracle's data warehousing and data mining applications can help companies get more out of the data that they already have.

Oracle 1-800-633-0738