Jim Browning, Texas Tech University
Success in the oil and gas industry comes with effectively juggling four key elements: money (made or lost), risk, technical capability, and competition. Information is key to managing this process. Data sharing is the controlled process of providing information to and obtaining information from your competitors in such a manner to ensure your success (and theirs, as well). When well executed, data sharing can help one optimally find and develop highly profitable properties with minimal risk for failure. Unfortunately, poorly executed, the data sharing process can tilt the pursuit in the other direction, as well. This paper was prepared to provide the reader with an understanding of the data sharing process and how to effectively leverage information to succeed in such a competitive and technically challenging environment. There are many data sources available, with varying degrees of cost and value. A great deal of data is available for free from public sources, in a variety of formats. There is also an entire industry made up of companies that, for a fee, provide consistent methods to retrieve public data. They also provide value-added services to validate, scrub, and, sometimes, interpret the data. There are also services to find relevant information or, if necessary, to generate data. Each of these methods incurs some cost, whether it be directly financial, in terms of effort, or risk (due to reliability concerns). A great advantage of these methods is that there is no need to release valuable data to one’s competitors. The disadvantage is that a great deal of valuable information is not available via these avenues. This is where data sharing comes in, from consortia to directly sharing with potential competitors. Data sharing can be extremely valuable, not only in obtaining data but also in developing relationships that build information conduits and can lead to profitable operations that can only be pursued with a partner. While there is considerable value to this approach, there are challenges and hazards that need to be navigated. This paper describes the various methods of retrieving, purchasing, and sharing data and how to utilize data sharing as a mechanism to effectively compete in a challenging environment.