Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Real-time IT becoming more important to drilling contractors

Real-time drilling information is become more important to contractors and operators following the April 2010 deepwater Macondo well blowout and resulting explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible, speakers acknowledged at a recent energy forum in Houston.

Investigators looking into the cause of the accident have questioned who had access to what drilling information about the Macondo well and the timing of that information. The blast killed 11 crew members, and the semi later sank. Industry and government jointly responded to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

During a Feb. 2 panel discussion on consolidation within service companies, Amy Meyers Jaffe of Rice University’s Baker Institute suggested “the better players” among drilling contractors are going to offer top-notch information services.

“I see a real push post-Macondo for real-time information,” said Jaffe. She moderated the panel discussion during an Energy Mergers and Acquisitions Forum sponsored by Mergermarket.

William D. Marsh, Baker Hughes Inc. vice-president legal-Western Hemisphere, agreed that software and IT is becoming much more important to Baker Hughes and its competitors.

Lackland H. Bloom, a managing director with J.P. Morgan, said that IT remains the domain of major service companies. He described “isolated circumstances” for information-services companies outside the oil and gas industry to gain exposure within the energy industry.

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