Actenum's blog articles

The articles on these pages will give you some insight into the issues that we're thinking about.


"Plans are worthless. Planning is essential. (Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and president (1890-1961)

We have been fortunate to work with industry-leading operators to refine our technology and incorporate best practices into our scheduling products, the underlying optimization engine, and—most importantly—our user experience. In turn, project implementation costs and durations have decreased significantly, and customer ROI has increased accordingly. We love working with leaders, and we are excited by the growth opportunities coming from unconventional production activity.

Are you running out of steam using spreadsheets to manage leases and well delivery?

Over the last few months I have been travelling more extensively than usual, spending many hours visiting with people in oil & gas companies. Usually our discussions have focused on how they manage the leases in their assets, together with the many lease obligations, and how they schedule all of the activities along the well delivery process (pad construction, drilling, completions, fracturing, and so on). What is remarkable to me, besides the complexity of the operational situation (particularly in unconventional environments where many of these companies have operations), is the software tool that's commonly used to manage it: MS-Excel.

Arbitrary events: support for modelling the well lifecycle

We are continually adding new capabilities to DSO/Upstream. One of the latest is support for what we call “arbitrary events”. These are a class of activities that are of interest to the scheduler, but that are not assigned to specific resources.

Viewing drilling as manufacturing

Aera Energy LLC drills 1,000 new wells each year, and produces 156,000 bpd, applying lean production processes. According to Rick Barton, an Aera Vice President, “drilling is not just a step in delivering a commodity; it's manufacturing a new well.” He recently told the Association for Manufacturing Excellence “Our business is different than traditional manufacturing, where the product comes by workers who are stationary, and comes by on a conveyor belt. In our business the product is stationary, and we have to figure a way to bring all the workers (to it) in a logical and coordinated fashion.”

Integrating material demand forecasting with drilling scheduling

One of the new features that we've added to DSO/Upstream 4.1 integrates material demand forecasting with scheduling drilling projects. The feature enables you to build and manage a drilling schedule, and, at the same time, to gain insight into the material requirements needed to execute that schedule.

Scheduling drilling operations: keeping track of sub-activities

Before we go any further, let's agree on some terms, in the context of a drilling schedule:

  • A drilling activity is a single “chunk” of work that's assigned to a resource, such as a rig or some other piece of equipment;
  • The activity duration is the time required to perform the drilling activity;
  • A drilling activity is actually composed of multiple operations that are sequenced in some way (such as the rig set up and tear down, physical drilling, running casing, cementing, and so on);
  • The operation duration is the time required to perform the operation.

Is everything going according to plan? Maintaining alignment with business objectives

Suppose that you want to prepare a schedule where the activities are sequenced in a way that meets plan or budget targets, so that your schedule maintains a specific value for some objectives over time. For example, you want to manage your drilling and completion program so that the expected production output from a field is within 5% of a specific quantity each month, or you want to carry out preventive maintenance so that resource use and costs are held close to a quarterly target, to ensure that you aren't under- or over-utilizing crews and equipment.

Improving collaboration in upstream operations

Our applications are primarily aimed at individual “power users”: that is, the people in an organization that manage operational plans and schedules, and update them on a regular basis. Our drag-and-drop Gantt interface and real-time impact analysis features give the user immediate insight into how those updates will alter key business objectives, such as cost, risk, and equipment utilization.

What we are often seeing these days, though, is that the collaboration potential that results from use of our products is regularly raised in discussions with our customers, and is seen by them as a critical benefit.

A round trip with Microsoft

Today we're announcing a significant new capability: integration of Actenum DSO with Microsoft Project.

“Real-time” decision making vs. “Getting real” at decision-time

“Real-time decision-making” is getting more attention in the intelligent energy field these days. David Latin, Executive Co-chair of the SPE Intelligent Energy 2010 Conference, outlines the theme of this year's conference by saying that “Real-time decision making has moved from delivering data to people to packaging the information to help people make decisions in real time affecting the bottom line.”

This evolution is encouraging, but it only addresses part of the challenge. Is “packaging information” enough to help you to make complex operational decisions in changing conditions?