Well File 2.0: Beyond Document Management

A “well file” is a container holding everything you ever wanted to know about an oil or gas well. Historically the container was an accordion folders stuffed with printed drilling reports, well logs, and production charts. The tradition continues into the digital age. Electronic well files help operators organize their well data in a form resistant to smudges and coffee stains.

Despite going digital, the modern well file still has a traditional use case. Many E&P companies treat their electronic well files as if they were still in filing cabinets with documents related to a well stored in a folder, usually on a shared network file server. Often called an “S: drive,” these virtual filing cabinets force E&P staff to hunt for well files using complicated folder structures. Inconsistent well naming conventions, miss-labeled folders, and multiple versions of the truth add to the headache.

Adding Structure to Unstructured Well Data

Oil & gas operators are flooded with data related to their wells. It comes in two flavors: structured and unstructured. Production measurements, well tests, and directional survey data stored in a database that can be queried is considered structured data. The same data types stored in PDF or even a spreadsheet is considered unstructured data. And the vast majority of that data torrent consists of unstructured data and documents, like AFEs, morning drilling reports, schematics, maps, and JIBs, just to name a few.

Given the rising levels of unstructured data, effective document management has become an increasing challenge for E&P companies. Much of this information is high value. For example, well logs represent a significant investment to acquire and the data is invaluable for production optimization and well work. Yet logs often end up on an S: drive or personal file folder, limiting the value to an organization.

Solving the problem starts with centralizing document storage and making it easy for E&P staff to find the well information they need. Key to improving access is standardization of well names and consistency in how well files are organized. A standard document taxonomy – essentially subfolders within a well file – makes it easier to find data by classifying well documents. For instance, a simple taxonomy would classify a given well’s documents as either drilling, completion, geology, logs, engineering, production, regulatory, or partner information.

The Real-time Well File

If a well file is supposed to contain everything you ever wanted to know about a well, a well file with just documents is far from complete. All too often, unstructured well datasets and documents related to a well are managed in one system and structured well data in different systems. For example, oil and gas production volumes are often stored in well history databases for reporting or well location data stored in a GIS application. As a result, E&P staff spend hours working with disparate systems and data silos to access essential well data and documents.

The most effective well file solution combines live data with documents to provide a 360-degree view of a well from a single interface. Such solutions place data-driven production reports and displays in context with unstructured data, such as wellbore schematics, well performance reviews, and workover prognoses. With access provided over the web, “well page” is perhaps a more apt term than “well file” to describe such a mashup of dynamic and static data. Now, everything you ever wanted to know about a well can be accessed from one well page.

Consider the effort required to share information with working interest owners. These investors require access to up-to-date production data as well as a myriad of document types, such as agreements and joint interest billings. With dozens or even hundreds of investors, most operators struggle to manage and share data with external parties. Equipped with the right technology, E&P companies can simply and securely share well information with their investors, providing easy access to static documents as well as real-time production reports.

W Energy Software’s Well Information Platform

With drilling, field data capture, and production reporting streamlined as one software platform, W Energy Software gives independents powerful tools to manage information across the well life cycle. At a glance, users access live production reports, charts, and maps alongside digital well documents. And with well naming and document taxonomy standardized through the online application, users can quickly find well related documents using any web-enabled device, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

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