Have you ever imagined the volume of data that had been acquired in the Egyptian oil and gas fields over the last century? The growing technologies in upstream, midstream and downstream are accumulating massive datasets in the oil and gas industry every day. This poses a great challenge of the high technology and security required to manage and store these data.

For example, the acquisition and processing of seismic data in an exploration program requires huge amount of storage and highly advanced software and sensors to transform these data into value to find oil.

The term big data is broadly used to refer to the new technologies in managing and processing huge amounts of datasets. It includes six main characteristics of volume, variety, velocity, veracity, value, and complexity. In our case, these datasets are recorded in different varieties and generated in large volumes in various operations of upstream and downstream in the oil and gas industry. The amount of data about the region or the field of study you are working on determines, to a large extent, the success ratio you can achieve. This is only accomplished if you can turn it into knowledge and value.

Another challenge that petroleum companies face is that they receive enormous amounts of data from different sources in various formats. These companies have to use unique tools to analyze and integrate these data to transform it into a coherent model to reduce exploration and drilling risks.

Unfortunately, in many cases, big data is not well exploited since companies are better at collecting data about neighboring fields and petroleum provinces. The daily production of thousands of wells are about well logging rather than analyzing that data and designing models to understand their own oil or gas fields. The game is not about the big data that we have, it is about our ability to manage these data to transform it into value to reduce risks in the exploration and drilling process. Moreover, it is not just big data; it is the right big data that matters since the “garbage in, garbage out” issues lead to biased and incomplete conclusions. It is worth mentioning that the Egypt Upstream Gateway(EUG) project introduces a significant step on embracing big data in the Egyptian petroleum sector.


 Ahmad Mostafa

Exploration Department Head South Valley Egyptian Petroleum HoldingCompany (GANOPE)