Oil and Gas Industry: How to Use GIS

GIS in Oil and Gas

How is GIS Used in the Oil and Gas Industry?

The oil and gas industry is a shockingly important sector in the world. It powers 100% of all transportation and accounts for 2.5% of the world GDP.

Oil and gas data is strongly connected to geography: oil exploration, pipeline construction and the environment. All of these features are spatial in nature.

GIS in oil and gas industry is a rapidly growing field of interest. GIS applications in the oil and gas industry can serve multiple purpose.

What can a GIS do in the oil and gas sector?

1 Asset Management

GIS in Oil and Gas Industry: Databases

A geodatabase can be used to store, collect and visualize the physical location of pipelines, wells and spatial data. Non-spatial information such as leases, date of installation and pipe material can also be added in attribute data. This can be useful to better understand when pipelines are in need of maintenance or repair.

Topological relationships can be maintained to ensure data quality. Definition queries can be performed to differentiate pipelines with attribute data. Other useful analytics information can be analyzed. For example, you can compare the amount of pipeline by type in specific locations.

2 Remote sensing for terrain stability

GIS in Oil and Gas: Satellites

Satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) can play a cost-effective role in understanding terrain stability. In the oil and gas industry, this means better monitoring of potential geohazards. This can play a key role in reducing the need to deploy staff, increase safety and continuation of pipeline productivity.

InSAR gives the ability to continually monitor areas of interest with satellites. Another big advantage is the large swath area satellite imagery can cover compared with on-ground surveys.

3 GIS Automation in Map Production and Visualization

GIS in Oil and Gas: Automation

In environmental assessments, pipelines & pump stations, areas of historical oil and gas exploration and even directional drilling… There’s no better time and place to use a GIS for mapping out these features.

Various tools can be used to automate workflow for geographic analysis and better decision-making.

  • If you are in need of creating maps of multiple sites, data driven pages is a quick way to automate map production.
  • If you want to find the fastest route for service trucks, network analyst is the quick and efficient way to do this.

Applications of GIS in Oil and Gas Industry

The applications of GIS in oil and gas industry can improve the cost-efficiency and deliver timely information. There are different techniques how a GIS can be applied in oil and gas related sectors: geodatabases, remote sensing, automation and more.

The oil and gas industry is BIG. It’s all-caps BIG. Oil and gas data sets are largely geographically based. For this reason, GIS can provide solutions on constructing pipelines, drilling oil wells and environmental protection.

Now it’s your turn. What are some other examples of GIS in the petroleum industry?

1. Ryan Carlyle (2014). What are the top five facts everyone should know about oil exploration?. Forbes Magazine
2. Naomi Short, Brian Brisco, Kevin Murnaghan (2011). InSAR Measurements of Terrain Stability in Canada’s North. Natural Resources Canada

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