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Oil company hopes to strike efficiency with cloud analytics

Clint Boulton | Nov. 11, 2015
To make drilling more efficient during a commodities industry downturn, Laredo Petroleum is turning to cloud applications from a Silicon Valley startup to correlate production and operational costs.

Surviving, thriving during a downturn

Tidemark gives Laredo pumpers visibility into the operating and production cost trends from each well in one Web dashboard, which they can access from a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Pumpers can use the software to drill down into details such as whether and how chemicals impacted oil production. This data, when correlated with production and financial software, also enables Laredo to make changes, such as ordering fewer or more roustabouts to help maintain the wells. “It tell us things like why a route on per-barrel basis is costing two times what a well on a similar route is,” Crotwell says. “And it helps us know whether we can we expect the production cost going forward or is it behavior that can be modified.”

The fact that Tidemark runs in the cloud is another plus for Laredo. With only 300 people on the staff, Laredo operates a lean IT team. Any solution that Crotwell can purchase and host elsewhere is a benefit. The cloud has become the default choice, allowing the company to shutter depreciated hardware. The company is using cloud-based intrusion detection and prevention tools, email filtering and management, and is testing Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure because “we’re not a data center or application software provider.”

Crotwell won’t say how much financial benefit Laredo is getting out of Tidemark, but he says the improved data management will help the company operate more efficiently during a downturn. “You fix your operations, you get your costs under control, and you get your information reporting and analytics in place because the market will turn and when it does you will be the most prepared to take advantage of the new opportunities,” he says.


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