Data Scientists in Demand in Oil, Gas to Address Big Data Challenge

Article title
Oil and gas companies are turning to data scientists as they seek to gain insight from Big Data.

Oil and gas companies are looking to add data scientists to their employee ranks as they seek to understand Big Data and the potential benefits it can bring to the oil and gas industry.

The rise of Big Data, or datasets of over a terabyte in size that cannot be captured, stored and managed by conventional database software, has become a popular topic of discussion as industries seek to mine Big Data to improve profitability and efficiency.

Data scientists are in demand as the amount of data gathered and kept in oil and gas companies and other industries grows. By 2016, the Big Data industry is projected to be a $53.4-billion industry, Venture Beat reported in November 2013. The data scientist career path offers tremendous growth across a number of industries. The job postings for data scientists grew 15,000 percent between 2011 and 2012 alone, according to Venture Beat.

The amount of data worldwide has exploded, and analyzing large data sets would become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation and consumer surplus, McKinsey & Company reported in May 2011.

“The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future,” McKinsey & Company reported.

Large volumes of data have been a fact of life in the oil and gas industry for decades; some view oil and gas as the “original” Big Data industry. Technical datasets, such as seismic surveys, can consist of many terabytes requiring special hardware and software to deal with them.

“We are also seeing more and more continuously collected data in terms of multiple sensors measuring a wide range of systems across oil fields,” said Ken Tubman, vice president of Geosciences and Reservoir Engineering with ConocoPhillips. “We have new, permanently installed systems to measure reservoir properties, production operations, drilling operations and other types of data. This new data presents challenges for real-time analysis and integration of information.”


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Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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