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Big Data in Practice by Bernard Marr

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5 SHELL How Big Oil Uses Big Data

Background

Royal Dutch Shell are the fourth-largest company in the world by revenue. Along with BP, ExxonMobil, Total and Chevron, they are one of the “supermajors” that extract most of the fuel that supplies our civilization with power.

They are a vertically integrated business, with a stake in every step of the process of transforming fossil fuel into energy for homes, vehicles and businesses – extraction, refining, packaging, distribution and retail.

In recent years, they have developed the concept of the data-driven oilfield, in an attempt to drive efficiency, reduce costs and improve safety across the industry.

What Problem Is Big Data Helping To Solve?

The world is facing an energy crisis in the face of a growing population and ever-diminishing non-renewable resources. While attempts are being made to generate more energy from renewable or alternative sources, the vast majority of the energy we consume still comes from non-renewable oil, gas and coal.

The supply of known resources is dwindling, and the uneasy state of international politics in many areas of the world adds to the difficulty of exploration. This means the cost of extraction will inevitably rise as drillers are forced to look deeper and further afield.

The search for hydrocarbons involves huge amounts of manpower, equipment and energy. With the cost of drilling a typical deep-water oil well running to $100 million or more, it’s absolutely essential drilling takes place ...

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