IM Experts in E&P

Managing E&P data and information and not just technology

Date: 23/6/2011

Our clients often ask about the discipline of E&P Data and Information Management and how that differs from the IT department.

Information Management on the whole deals with all the parameters of managing the flow of information needed to support the business. These parameters may range from technological involving some whizzy software bits to the management of human behaviour which impacts the flow of critical information on the project. In practice, most business information is managed through a combination of both of these things.

In recent times problems have been publicly exposed in upstream oil and gas by both crises and regulatory activities. In order to manage information, we must control it. This involves following the rules, such as:

  • Governance, actively supported by management
  • Having a plan (IM Strategy, processes, procedures, etc.)
  • Appropriate numbering (i.e. equipment and documents)
  • Challenging the information
  • Sharing the information (in a single-source-of-truth, SSOT)


In an engineering environment, for example, this control ensures appropriate information is handed over to operations in time for installation and start-up. We make sure everything is labelled (e.g. a document number). We make sure access is controlled (i.e. those who need the information can get it when they need it and rely on it). We make sure there is but one master, and that this SSOT is sustained as maintenance and modifications are performed.

What if we don't ...?

If information collection is not controlled, the usual result is that people start saving much more than they really need in the unlikely event that it might be needed one day. Too much information is undesirable for a variety of reasons:

  • Takes longer to find
  • Duplicates to sort through... which one is right?
  • More expensive server space for more storage
  • More document controllers to process the documents
  • More time for engineers to review documents which might be more hindrance than help
  • More to sift through and either discard or archive before handover
  • Poorer decisions, more mistakes

A consequence of the above is usually the emergence (or strengthening) of a Blame IT/IM culture. Documents (and data) are hard to find, sometimes in more than one place. Naturally, people become frustrated and they begin to blame IT even though the root of problem may have more to do with the way people behave than the technology which lies before them.

Cassie Duffy

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