Leading Canadian energy company, ARC Resources Ltd. (ARC) is finding new ways to leverage analytics for operational sustainability. Adapting to the new age of data analytics, ARC is using real-time operational data from well-logs to improve drilling performance by creating real-time visualizations and dashboards. Taking a page from the agile methodology of rapid feedbacks and iterations, ARC is using data to quickly identify issues and make needed adjustments to improve drilling precision. In due process, less drilling time translates to reduced emissions, as well as lowered drilling costs, all of which translates to an all-around win for the company’s bottom line and its environmental footprint.
What started as a POC close to a year and a half ago, has resulted in a data engineering pipeline that has saved the company over $1 million dollars annually. With an unrelenting drive for perfection in the company’s DNA, it took three iterations before getting it right. While the POC proved the capability to stream IoT data to a database, the 20-minute delay was too slow for world-class efficiency. The second iteration proved to be performant, but individual cloud solutions stitched together proved to be narrow in focus and architecturally clumsy.
ARC finally landed on Databricks on its third iteration with its seamless unified analytics platform that allows for end-to-end data engineering, from data ETL to built-in machine learning capabilities. This pipeline starts with Azure IoT Hub reliably and securely collecting over 1,000 data points per second. After the data is collected, Databricks is used for data ingestion at scale. The Medallion Architecture is used to organize data into separate ETL tiers - Bronze for raw data, Silver for enriched data and Gold for business-level aggregation reporting data. With Spark’s unlimited horizontal scalability architecture, the Gold layer is ready for consumption by the business in seconds. ARC then further optimized their PowerBI dashboards for speed, which allow business insights to be delivered for real-time decision making.
This successful implementation proves that there are many other opportunities for growth. ARC’s mentality of continual improvement forces critical analysis of technology application for increased efficiency. One of the company’s top initiatives is to cultivate an innovative culture of data literacy and data democracy. This empowers employees to be their own data citizens, and allows them to take personal initiatives to use data in meaningful ways to help advance the company forward. ARC is already using the power of data to build machine learning models that help with completion optimization and efficiency, as well as for field development planning. In the near future, the company hopes to modernize its entire on-prem data warehouse and build on the success of its IoT project to advance its data capability to every corner of the organization, from the field all the way to the c-suite.
There has often been the perception in Calgary that the oil and gas industry lags behind in terms of technology adoption. But ARC is proving this mentality wrong - it is not an “aged out energy company”, but an E&P embracing the best modern technologies and adapting to the digital era. Its transformational success shows that when a traditional company keeps an open mind to fresh new ideas, it can attract the best talent to do amazing things.