With the holidays upon us, I am reminded of an old book entitled “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” which was later used as the basis for the movie “A Christmas Story”. When I was a kid, my family watched and re-watched this movie in which the adult Ralphie recounts his struggles with childhood and with getting that “just right” gift for Christmas (“…an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time”).
Many years later, during the Operations/Engineering time of my career, a hard-driving and charismatic SVP leveraged the saying with a slight twist—“In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data”—to emphasize and drive quality decisions made throughout his organization. The SVP knew that sound decisions were driven from data—and not just by data alone, but by an understanding of where the data came from, how reliable it is, and ultimately how you use it.
As those of us who have walked into an AFE review or a PUD review or a well review know, you can feel the eyes of executive management, your peers, and your colleagues anxious to see your recommendations. More often than not, you have a nicely bound binder of work that represents the last two weeks, one month, or six months of your existence. While the executive summary might help you get going, the crowd very quickly goes to the detailed questions– testing you at every turn about this decline curve, that past AFE, those stimulation results, your closeology. Then—BAM!—the quiet engineer in the corner hits you with “the” question—almost like it was planned, almost like it had happened to them before—and like Ralphie, you realize you’re in trouble. “You’re gonna shoot your eye out!”
Your mind starts to reel. What you came into the meeting thinking was a sound decision process, now you start to question. Did I use the right reserves database? Should I have done a 3-point AFE review and not trusted actuals? Did my non-op partners know what they were doing when they collected data? Or maybe I should have done more statistics across the play and been less convinced on the offset wells – after all it is heterogeneous rock. “Ooooh fuuudge!”
The spiral of questions ensues, but we know this is part of O&G and how we move forward defines us as petro-professionals. We get through the meeting and everyone present learns from our display. While some had a little fun at our expense, others go back to their desk quickly revising their data binders to better align with the cash (capex/opex) they are wanting to get approved. “Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I hate meatloaf!”
Unlike the movies, a silver bullet (or BB) does not exist in O&G to address your Well Lifecycle Data Management needs, and those who tell you otherwise are most likely trying to sell you something. Getting the most out of your data so that you get the most out of your cash is not a trivial matter. It takes an overall strategy and knowledge of both the O&G business and IT to get it done. As Ralphie discovered, it takes meaningful data (specifically “…an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time”) and motivation to get what you want. Data is one area in which Stonebridge Consulting excels. As for motivation, we “triple-dog-dare you” to call us!