Devon Canada Uses Tibco To Hit Paydirt

The oil and gas exploration arm of Devon Energy taps Tibco apps to help monitor remote locations.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

July 14, 2003

2 Min Read

Devon Canada, the oil and gas exploration arm of the Devon Energy Corp., is using Tibco Software Inc. middleware to connect back-office applications at headquarters to remote locations where there are more grizzly bears and timber wolves than IT managers.

Locating drilling sites, establishing wellheads, monitoring the production of oil or gas at a given site, and providing maintenance to well pumps and other equipment are tasks frequently governed by independent computer systems that don't talk to each other, says Dick Cooper, head of Deloitte Consulting's oil and gas practice.

Because the oil and gas industry has seen many small independent companies consolidated into larger corporations like Devon, the same function, such as a maintenance system, is often represented by different silos inside a business, says Jerome Beaudoin, CIO of Devon Canada.

That can be a problem for Devon, which relies on IT to run the business. The company uses a geographical information system to locate drilling sites. As a well is built, the engineering system needs to know the state of the equipment going in and when it will need maintenance. Once production starts, any problems that crop up will require a scramble for information from many different systems.

"There's no ERP for upstream oil and gas. There's a whole range of systems that don't integrate well," says Cooper.

As information is entered manually into systems ranging from exploration to accounting to maintenance to production, it's possible for engineers to complete a well and for the production crew to not know whether it's OK to proceed with pumping. "You never want to be offsides with the regulators," Beaudoin says. "It's possible for a license to be sitting in an office, and the rig that it covers is sitting on the sidelines, idle, costing thousands of dollars a day."

To overcome the integration problem, Devon uses Tibco's vertical industry software for oil and gas, Well Development Optimization, which models the many steps between prospecting for well sites to first drilling. It's supplemented by a production-monitoring application that consolidates the information related to well operation and maintenance. Among other things, it can gauge the cost effectiveness of a planned fix for a bad well, Cooper says.

"One department may have 20 different touch points to track information and share it upstream" with exploration crews, production crews and maintenance crews, Beaudoin says. With the Tibco integration system, "we've reduced the touch points from 20 down to zero."

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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