Big oil drills into big data to save costs

|By:, SA News Editor

Pacific Drilling (PACD), which operates offshore oil rigs in far-flung places such as Nigeria, is turning to big data to save costs.

PACD recently began monitoring thousands of pieces of equipment on rigs in real time; for example, from the generator that helps power the ship, PACD tracks data points such as the vibrations coming out of the engine, the amount of heat it produces, how fast it’s running and its oil pressure.

Prior to getting the software, PACD's individual engineers performed necessary equipment checks one by one but couldn’t monitor the performance of the fleet over time; now the company says it has cut the time for ordering parts in half.

“Every hour counts,” says the VP for IT; “if we’re down for two days, that’s $1M."