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Minimizing Operational Risk through Information Technology

As oil and gas projects increase in complexity, it becomes more difficult for companies to manage them.  This can introduce the risk of noncompliance with regulations, going over budget, or worst of all, causing an accident.  Information technology (IT) can be used to help manage projects better, as well as make strategic decisions such as which field should be developed first, how equipment and manpower should be allocated, and whether emission levels are meeting regulatory compliance.


As illustrated in the image above, IT helps the energy industry operate in increasingly remote areas and harsher conditions:  “Digital oilfields” and “integrated operations” technologies enhance reservoir recoverability, optimize production, and reduce environmental and safety risks.

Common IT Needs for Oil and Gas Operations

There are several IT capabilities that lower operational risk.  As projects become increasingly complex, these IT capabilities become critical to a company’s efficiency.  (See graph below)


One of the most important IT tools an organization can leverage is an enterprise-wide management system.  This type of software helps companies create intelligence from “big data” (a huge amount of structured and unstructured data), and use it to speed drilling time, reduce risks, and meet regulatory requirements.

Secondly, international companies are using collaboration technology to help unite subject matter experts operating in different parts of the world.  International teams use 3D visualization technology to access the same data, models, and tools, and therefore collaborate on engineering, design, and operations.

Thirdly, information security systems are needed for protecting the confidentiality and integrity of information – especially since the enterprise-wide management system allows data to be accessed easily.


Finally, the increasingly stringent requirements for safety reporting mean that oil and gas companies must place significant importance on compliance.  Systems that automate management of environmental, health, and safety data and keep track of inspections and reporting helps maintain compliance.

Implementation of Critical IT Needs

Companies that are still forming an IT plan can start with the following steps.  Completing these items will help them meet critical IT needs.

Step 1:  Develop a company-wide approach to managing information by creating a plan that covers use of technology to support operations, business analytics, application integration, Health and Safety compliance, and enterprise content management.

Step 2:  Develop business processes for operations and identify document control workflow for approvals within the company.

Step 3:  Create a plan for dealing with areas of inefficiency, such as current processes that still rely on paper files.

Step 4:  Look for IT solutions that will optimize the ways in which the company manages, shares, stores, and archives the necessary documents for complying with regulations.

IT Reduces Risks

Information technology can help connect different organizational levels within a company.  IT can also transmit information faster and ultimately lead to more efficient operations.  Oil and gas companies with efficient IT communications are more likely to comply with regulations and less likely to have accidents. Operators that understand how to reduce their risks using technology will be better positioned in the marketplace.

Clover specializes in placing professionals in the oil and gas industry. If you are an Operator seeking to augment Project Teams, contact Jeff.W@clovergs.com

If you are an experienced professional looking for opportunities in the Upstream Industry (Alaska, Eagle Ford Shale Play, Bakken Formation, Deepwater Gulf of Mexico), send your resume in complete confidence to Chris.S@clovergs.com