Asset teams understand why regulatory compliance in the oil and gas industry is crucial to successful business operation and yet, many companies find themselves on the wrong end of compliance due to mistakes that could’ve been avoided with accurate analysis beforehand. In 2018, one of Colorado’s second-biggest drillers by oil volume, incurred a $1.6 million penalty for not maintaining and pressure testing in a host of shut-in wells. Because regulatory compliance often requires environmental surveillance and remediation, it’s best to rely on visualization software that can use multiple datasets to accurately map existing and potential problems.
Maintaining Well Integrity with Proper Data Analysis
Well integrity is often an issue that can impact an operation’s regulatory compliance. Older wells are rarely inspected, evidenced by the fact that more than 8,000 wells drilled between 2000 and 2012 had no publicly available inspection records as of 2014. This can be a problem for analysts dealing with older wells, as lacking records fail to highlight anomalies within the wells. On the other hand, one can’t guarantee that newer wells are safer, as some also have minimal history of inspection. That’s where co-visualization software comes into play.
Analysts need multiple streams of data to create geological models and reservoir simulations that account for factors such as fault geometry and high-pressure zones. They also need the ability to obtain seismic history matching (SHM)—a feature that enhances the simulation model to allow analysts to make accurate predictions and help detect any deviation that could cause setbacks and environmental catastrophes. This feature also augments reservoir flow models based on fluid and pressure change comparisons stemming from time-lapse seismic shifts, which helps a team’s ability to detect abnormal shifts that could lead to gas kicks or surface expressions.
Efficient co-visualization software provides a multi-dimensional profile of wells in a geo-spatial context, regardless of its age. Analysts can obtain 2D, 3D, and 4D seismic data and visualize reservoir simulation models. Co-visualization software can assist companies in maintaining industry requirements and public safety standards, as well as communicate field management and understanding to the regulatory community.
How Data Visualization Aids in Record-Keeping
Since oil and gas companies must keep meticulous records made available to state and federal authorities, analysts need reliable software that provides various datasets within a spatial and temporal context. With insufficient co-visualization, it can be time-consuming to aggregate and decipher data. Additionally, extracting data from multiple software types can be confusing among outside parties that need to interpret specific datasets.
Consider the following example:
A federal regulator conducts an on-site inspection and wishes to assess the records of various wells in the area. The team provides all of the pertinent data, but the information derives from several software types that contain separate data streams. As a result, the official cannot get a true sense of the campaign status, as there is no way to fully integrate the data. The regulator manages to interpret the data, but only after numerous questions, wasting precious team time that could have been diverted to realizing project goals.
In such a case, the uncertainty could have been avoided with co-visualization software by providing data in an integrated fashion. Providing integrated data to regulatory agencies can reduce the inquisitive correspondence between energy companies and public agencies, helping department heads understand the profile of oil and gas campaigns much easier. Through co-visualization software, viewers can obtain statistical analysis, data management, and model spacing options in an integrated manner. Analysts can also gather data quicker for regulatory bodies, in addition to sending data that’s more accurate than alternative software types.
With these capabilities, developers can address any deviations during the well-planning process, showing regulators that avoidable problems are being handled efficiently. An organized record system not only helps oil and gas companies stay within regulatory frameworks but also pinpoint defects in the early stages before any deviations morph into crippling problems that could stall campaigns.
Visualizing Data for Hazard Prevention and Safety Standards
Spotting defects early on can also keep regulatory bodies at bay, allowing operators to mitigate problems faster. Oftentimes, government agencies will enter worksites to check for deviations in the form of leaks or damaged equipment. In four states alone, over 6,600 fracking spills occurred between 2005 and 2014, and a high number of spills came from wells with previous incidents. Targeted inspections from regulators and operators are the best way to spot potential failures and prevent hazards from causing damage and stalling energy campaigns.
At a time when regulatory bodies and energy companies face increased scrutiny over fracking practices, analysts need impeccable software that incorporates current and previous data into a well-organized system.
Quality 4D seismic data, along with other data streams, is a critical factor that enhances the understanding of reservoir profiles and helps analysts make better decisions that stay within regulatory frameworks—preserving environmental integrity while maximizing profit.
Maintaining Regulatory Compliance in the Oil and Gas Industry
Co-visualization software helps analysts organize data and process information for easier readability. It also helps the industry adhere to regulatory standards and prevent accidents and spills that can contaminate the environment. When it comes to regulatory compliance in the oil and gas industry, the best way to appease regulators is to spot deviations ahead of time.
Co-visualization software helps analysts organize data and process information for easier readability.
By addressing discontinuities early, companies can make appropriate management decisions and prevent mishaps that can result in fines and penalties from regulators. Proper data integration can produce high-resolution images, including reservoir simulation models and other data streams that produce the full context of a well’s structural status. The simplification of data helps other teammates and government agencies understand the latest developments, leading to smoother campaigns and added extraction of hydrocarbons.