Last week, the city of Dallas hosted the 2013 Best Practices for Oil & Gas conference. More than 600 people from 22 countries and across the industry attended the event, a collaboration of SAP, ASUG, and The Eventful Group.
The key themes of this year’s conference were safety, reliability, and sustainability. And conference goers got to hear about best practices and innovations directly from industry leaders like Pacific Drilling, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Devon Energy, ConocoPhillips Company, BP, Chevron Corporation, and Marathon Oil Corporation.
Engagement throughout the 4-day event was high. The presentations were lively and informative and conversations routinely spilled out into the hallway. I’m sure all of the attendees have their own list of conference highlights. The following are a few of mine.
Change and the Role of Technology
In his Tuesday morning keynote, Judson L. Jacobs described trends in upstream oil and gas that are impacting the entire industry. These include more challenging asset types such as tight oil and ultra-deepwater resources, more complex technology, and shifting workforce demographics. Jacobs – who is a senior director at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates – posed some timely questions. How will companies cope with new challenges in water and methane management? How can you capture expertise during the “great crew change,” as an aging traditional workforce is replaced by a new generation of younger employees?
As Jacobs sees it, part of the response, “will require innovative, technology-enabled operating philosophies and work practices.”
Big Data is King
Big data is a hot topic across all industries these days and oil and gas is no exception. Isabella Groegor-Cechowicz, the SAP Global Vice President for Industry Business Solutions for Oil & Gas, talked about the big data challenges: “volume, velocity, and variety.” And she talked about the opportunities – like deeper insight. Groegor-Cechowicz pointed out that the availability of massive data will continue to change fundamental business processes well into the future.
The presence of the SAP Big Data Bus outside the conference center supported her message. Staffed by SAP experts, this mobile showcase helped attendees learn how big data and real-time insight can drive new innovation into their organizations.
The Human Truth
When I think oil and gas, I usually think about the sciences – geology, metallurgy, and high-tech engineering – rather than the humanities. But Harold Hambrose, CEO and founder of Electronic Ink, presented on what he called “the human truth” behind innovation and ROI. Hambrose noted that good design depends on understanding the human aspects of a project as well as the procedural and mechanical considerations. It is perhaps the most critical factor in ensuring user adoption and predictable results.
Oil and gas projects affect people across a long supply chain – from the oil rig workers and business office personnel to the consumers at the pump.
Did you attend this year’s Best Practices for Oil & Gas conference? Join the conversation and tell us about your top takeaways.
And join me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.