As oil and gas exploration databases become larger and more complex, energy companies are challenged with regulating access to certain datasets.
Oil and gas exploration companies use the Internet and social media on a daily basis to get news, share data and connect with others. On our personal time, many of us take part in online games, quizzes and personality tests on social media for fun. The questions that we respond to in those ‘fun’ quizzes, however, reveal important personal information about ourselves.
It’s very important that we stop and think about the kind of information that we’re revealing. These days, perhaps more than ever, it is critical to consider what we need to reveal and how it may be used. In our personal and professional lives, protecting information and revealing it only to the right people is very important.
When talking about oil and gas exploration data management, what does that mean?
For energy companies, subsurface data tends to come from everywhere. Seismic and well data can be licensed from vendors, provided by partners, acquired from different companies or sourced from various public data libraries. Every piece of data comes with terms and conditions regarding its use and disclosure, and it is critical to honor those terms and conditions. Unauthorized disclosure of subsurface data, no matter where it is from, is a serious breach and can lead to expensive litigation for your company.
Oil and Gas Exploration Data Sharing Within Energy Companies
Besides the terms and conditions relating to the sharing or licensing of subsurface data, there are several other reasons why a company would want to limit or restrict access to data:
- Geographic location: Companies with diverse geographical portfolios may choose to limit access to areas based on the business units that work in those areas. This may be done to streamline workflows, focus teams on their key assets, or limit access to sensitive geo-political regions.
- Business development activity: It’s quite common for companies to ‘shop around’ for new acquisitions or identify assets to be divested. Due diligence is performed on the asset quality by various internal and external resources, and those people need access to the subsurface data. While this is being done, it is very important to keep these activities confidential.
- Tight wells: Certain types of wells, such as exploration wells, are designated as “tight.” For these wells, it is very important to keep all data associated with them strictly confidential.
- Third parties and contractors: Many consultants and other third parties need access to subsurface data to perform their work. These people don’t need, and shouldn’t have, unlimited access to subsurface data.
Energy Companies Control Access to Seismic and Well Data
iGlass is the front end to Katalyst’s oil and gas exploration data management technology. Users are able to manage their subsurface data and inventory information and control who has access to specific data. Our new entitlements module was developed specifically to address the needs of energy companies to limit visibility and access of data. This module allows them to implement a comprehensive strategy for the protection of subsurface data from unauthorized access. The restrictions can be applied to the data inventory or individual user level, so companies can be as granular as desired when setting access permissions.
It is important to have a well drafted plan when starting the process of building entitlements. The process really begins by mapping out the organization’s users and groups. Users are fairly straightforward and can be anyone with an iGlass login, but groups can be a bit more complicated. Some groups are role specific, such as discipline-heads and data managers and will span many different geographical areas. Some groups are geographical and have multiple disciplines assigned based on what asset(s) they are working on.
In addition, users may belong to multiple groups or may change groups frequently. The entitlements module can handle these nuances, and our consulting services group has process flows to help figure this out. At the end of the day, however, the company has to work through this mapping and maintain ongoing management.
Oil and Gas Exploration Project Data Sharing with Third Parties
When setting up entitlements, it is also possible to designate them as static or dynamic. As the name implies, static entitlements don’t change as data is added or new users login. Any changes are manual, which is useful in cases where (for instance) a third party contractor is doing a specific job on certain data in a project – you don’t necessarily want him or her to see new incoming data. A dynamic entitlement is effectively ‘rebuilt’ on a regular basis. This is useful when data is continually being added to a project.
Although planning and thought does need to go into building up entitlements in your organization, it is a very robust and functional way of managing the sometimes complex challenge of data access across an energy company. Our subsurface consulting group is available to help and has years of experience with these processes.
If you would like to learn more, watch this webinar or contact Katalyst.
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