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A ray of 'Sun-shine'
Data management is an important task for oil companies. A normal working day might produce more than a terabyte of data, and the amount is increasing exponentially. Here is where Sun Microsystems comes in with its Storage Area Network (SAN) architecture data management solution. It provides a comprehensive set of products and services that allow consolidation of storage resources on the network for better and more cost-effective management of data growth.
Another offering from Sun is its Sun StorEdge Performance Suite and StorEdge Utilization Suite software. These allow for automatic streaming of data to tape devices at fully rated device speeds, eliminating the need for traditional 'batch mode' back-up, thus increasing the quality of storage services. Additionally, costs are lowered because fewer hardware, software, and manual system administrators are required.
One must note that most storage networks in the oil and gas industry are highly heterogeneous, and need software/hardware solutions that can handle data on these.
Data, and yet more data
Today, data collection, its streaming to the right sources, and its conversion into usable knowledge is not 'just another task' in the oil industry. Millions of dollars go down the drain if the implementation of apparatus or drilling happens at sites which are wrongly identified to hold oil. Data management and analysis thus stands out as the single most important task in the oil industry. It is also highly necessary in light of the significant growth in the volume of seismic data after the introduction of 3D and now 4D.
Constant endeavours are on to work on the data aspect of oil mining. For example, in Norway, the oil companies and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) implemented a GeoBank initiative with IBM's Petrobank Technology. The aim was to establish a common database for the industry, ensuring minimum duplication of stored data, and rapid and efficient data access and data trade. Of course, the other focus was on cost saving. It was a state-of-the-art solution for raw exploration data, was online, multi-client and scalable - the reason why it was used in many locations all over the world.
A need to communicate
Communication and computation power have increased like never before. And with the multi-location work environment today, along with data management, data transfer is important for the oil industry. Communication technologies have powered many oil exploration projects, especially real-time online ones. With most well operations being online today, these are executed from an operation centre on shore. There has to be constant and consistent access to all operation information, especially because directions change on the fly and because of the huge data volumes involved. Sophisticated IT solutions for system control, telemetry, and real-time communication have enabled oil companies to make rapid decisions in real time from either the drilling location or remotely. And now, with better and more affordable communication technologies cropping up, the oil industry is set to make significant savings.
Better communication methods also help in detection of oil reserves via satellites. An example is that of the Satellite Imaging Corporation, which offers satellite imagery of remote and unexplored locations. The company's technology offers customised image processing services for its clients. It includes giving 3D visuals, detecting seismic fault lines, and sensing rock formations, among other things. Such digital imagery is not only cost-effective, it also reduces the risk involved in actual exploration.