It is evident that oil and gas (O&G) businesses are beginning to heavily invest in software technology to help improve productivity while reducing costs. The latest acquisition of Baker Hughes by General Electric shows that O&G businesses are starting to recognize the need for investment in service technologies to improve operational efficiencies. For example, preventing worker and equipment downtime as a way to further cut costs to remain profitable at lower oil prices. Business process management software and Internet of Things (IoT) technology are being deployed across the industry to help create greater efficiency at a work site and at the office. Businesses that are willing to accept that the conventional way of running an exploration & production (E&P) business is no longer sustainable at these lower oil barrel prices will survive by adopting new and emerging technologies.

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The oil and gas (O&G) industry is going through an age-related crisis. The average age of employees in O&G companies is 50 years according to the World Petroleum Council. This means that within 5 to 10 years the bulk of the current workforce will be retiring. As veteran staff retire, in many cases, the knowledge accumulated throughout their careers also goes with them. That is, unless the company has a proactive plan to facilitate knowledge transfer before that employee retires or leaves. Unfortunately, many companies don’t so O&G is facing a knowledge retention issue that must be addressed immediately. Software technology, along with a strong, well supported program that helps retain knowledge of retiring staff, is a key component to the success of every O&G business.

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Believe it or not, the biggest threat to the oil and gas industry isn’t the $45 bbl, +/- $5 price we are seeing today. For the foreseeable future, there will be less conventional and more unconventional ways to retrieve crude as innovation continues, so product is not the issue. The real threat is that skilled workers will be retiring in the next few years creating a smaller pool of highly skilled workers to choose from, which is a major threat to businesses struggling to work with lower crude prices. The experts in oil and gas will be retiring leaving newly hired millennials with a keen eye for new technology to propel the industry. Businesses that have the foresight to appeal to millennials and younger employees will be more successful in the long run.

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From concept to abandonment, there are many ways in which we can save time and money in the well lifecycle. Improving communication alone is an opportunity area that can prevent cycle downtime. Key players – Exploitation Engineers, Land Managers, Drilling Supervisors, Facilities Managers, Geologists, Production Engineers, just to name a few – all have their individual goals, and communication with each other and their within their respective teams is key to staying on task. Additionally, completing each step in a timely manner is another way that will help you save costs throughout the well lifecycle. A good project management tool can enhance communication and collaboration while providing functionality to keep everyone on task and meeting deadlines. Let’s explore four ways a good project management tool can help reduce costs in the oil well lifecycle.

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