The Big Gotcha with Production Data Capture Apps

When it comes to oil & gas production data capture, there’s an app for that, right? Actually, you may have seen more than one of these apps that claim to revolutionize the way your oil & gas business works, often with claims like “zero upfront costs,” “no contract,” and “money back guarantee.” Claims like that are more suited to late night TV infomercials rather than the serious business of recording production volumes, sales tickets, and other field data that drive your profitability. Getting a refund after the app has failed to correctly record a month of sales runs is missing the point. You should expect more from your production data capture app and the company behind it. Read on for the big “gotcha” with such apps, but first a few runners up.

One Size Does Not Fit All

That new pumper app you’re trying out looks pretty slick and claims to cure your production data capture headache. It has most of the essentials: oil, gas, water volumes – check, tank levels – check, sales tickets – check. But wait, you want to track and calculate gas volumes differently for each gathering facility. Oh, you can’t do that. And there are a dozen other production and operations data types you want to track but can’t, leaving your team to manage data in multiple places, then figure out how to piece it all together.

Production Reporting 101

Production data capture apps focus on pumper data entry with no reporting or analysis capabilities for back office staff, like engineering, accounting, and management. Production reporting is often an add-on feature but rudimentary at best, offering no support for the kinds of complex reporting and analysis most operators need. Operate in Texas? You’ll need to back allocate your lease level production using well tests and other data. Can your pumper app do that?

Passing the Buck to the Operator

Lease operators often hit the road for multiple operators. Production data capture apps are an attractive solution for recording a complex mix of data along a well route, but it’s a bottom up approach to field data management that often leaves operators out of the decision process. Field data is usually delivered to the operator in a spreadsheet, which is nothing new, or via online reports. It’s up to the operator to incorporate this field data into key workflows, such as production analysis, accounting, and compliance. This begs the question – what’s in it for the operator if they still have to shuffle data?

Production Data Capture #1 Gotcha

Pumpers do a lot of heavy lifting in powering the digital oilfield through the collection of critical business data. Arming them with tools that can simplify daily well routes, reduce human error, and improve data quality should be a key component of your production data capture strategy. But it’s not the only game in town.

Oil & gas operators also rely on automated systems – such as SCADA remote monitoring – to gather field data, technology that is increasingly available even to the smallest operators. Pumpers will always have a place in the field as data curators and troubleshooters, but the reality is that most operators use a mix of pumper-powered and automated production data capture. Most apps on the market ignore this reality, leaving their users with even more of a data management headache, which is contrary to the claim of curing it.

How do you integrate pumper data with SCADA for a complete view of your operations? Choose the wrong pumper app and you’ll need a lot of time, money, and baling wire to get there.

A Complete Oil & Gas Production Solution

There is no silver bullet when it comes to production data capture apps. Rather, operators who want to leverage field data to drive profitability and other business outcomes should take a top down approach and look for solutions that offer:

  • Customizable pumper inputs + ability to add new parameters
  • Seamless flow of pumper data into operator’s production database
  • Instant access to production reporting and analysis for back office staff
  • Integrated system for human-based and automated data capture

W Energy Software offers independent E&Ps a complete, cloud-based production management solution that supports both field and back office workflows. FieldApp, W Energy Software’s mobile production data capture app, offers pumpers more than 100+ customizable production and operations data inputs that sync automatically with the cloud for seamless reporting and analysis. Plus, W Energy Software production and operations software combines both pumper and SCADA data sources to provide a real-time view of your operations.

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