Alpha Software Blog

What Is a Digital Oil Field & How Does It Work?

The Digital Oil Field Is The Future Of Energy. Read on to learn how it will transform the energy industry as we know it.As oil reserves shrink and it becomes more expensive and dangerous to find and exploit new ones, the oil industry is turning to what’s been called the digital oil field to better and less expensively extract and use oil from existing fields.

But the term is something of a buzzword, and it’s not always clear what it means. In this blog post, I’ll clue you in how it works and how you can get more out of it. 

What Is a Digital Oil Field?

As Jane Whaley explains in the article “What is a Digital Oil Field?” for the petroleum geoscience magazine, BEOExPro, “Many people think of the digital oil field as a fancy technological hub, with hundreds of flashing screens and a couple of experts earnestly comparing notes in a hushed environment. But it is better described not as a physical presence, but as a concept, encompassing not just data being streamed from far distant wells, but the processing, integration and analysis of that data in a number of physical environments.”

In other words, it’s applying the lessons that many non-oil companies have learned in their digital transformations — use technology to improve business processes, increase communication throughout the business, and gather and mine data for insights to make the business run better.

In the digital oil field, she says, that requires automation. She writes, “By taking the human out of mundane tasks, productivity is increased, and the expert is freed to use his or her knowledge on more difficult, analytical work. Integrating a large number of the processes involved in drilling, such as remotely steerable down-hole and integrate-while-drilling tools, produces large quantities of real-time data across a range of disciplines.”

Many in the Oil Industry Remain Slow to Adapt Despite Payoffs 

That sounds logical. But the oil industry has traditionally been slow to adopt digital technologies, which can make creating the digital oil field exceedingly difficult. An article about digital oil fields in Innovation Enterprise warns, “A survey carried out by BP found that 60% of oil executives asked believed that resistance to change represented the biggest obstacle to realizing the full potential of the digital oil field. Oil and gas as an industry, is traditional and has tried to stick to the tried and tested strategies rather than attempting to adopt disruptive innovations.”

Big Payoffs for Digital Transformation:
Shell estimates that the value of its ‘Smart Fields’ implementation was $5 billion over five years 

However, oil companies that have been serious about using technology to create digital oil fields have seen big payoffs, Whaley explains. She says Shell estimates that the value of its ‘Smart Fields’ implementation was $5 billion over five years. And she notes that the consulting company IHS Cera says that with digital oil fields, “companies could realize up to 25% savings in operating costs, up to 8% higher production rates, 2–4% lower project costs, and as much as 6% improved resource recovery, all within the first full year of deployment.”

Alpha Software's pumpjack inspection app is an example of the digital oil field at work.What’s the Best Platform for Helping Build a Digital Oil Field?

To accomplish this, oil and gas companies need to find the best platform for helping build the digital oil field. Alpha TransForm is ideally suited for the task. It has the unique ability to rapidly create mobile-optimized forms and field apps that can easily access and integrate with existing databases and web services. It builds offline apps, vital for the oil and gas industry, and excels at mobile apps for field workers.

Learn how Alpha Software is helping oil and gas customers or try Alpha TransForm yourself.

Additional Reading:

Find out how mobile apps can help rejuvenate the oil and gas industry.

Read about why oil and gas CIOs need to embrace digital transformation.

Find out five reasons why mobile apps are the oil and gas industry’s secret weapon.


Alpha Solutions for Oil and Gas

Powerful Data Capture Apps for Inspectors, Exploration or Production Teams

Safety Inspections  •  Pipeline Inspections  •  Gemba Walks  •  Platform Audits  •  Certifications and Training    
Pumpjack Inspections  •  Work Orders •  Time and Attendance  •  ISO Certifications   
Dispatch  •  Licensing  •  and more,,,

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.