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Unstructured data in asset integrity

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oil and gas companies have been working with structured data for asset integrity analysis for many years - but often ignore the unstructured data, such as written notes. Pierre Marchand of Teradata thinks it is time to change

The oil and gas industry does not get as much value as it could do from unstructured documents, said Pierre Marchand, industry consultant for oil and gas at Teradata, speaking at the Digital Energy Journal Aberdeen event on Sept 24th, 'Using Analytics to Improve Asset Integrity'.

Many engineers are frustrated that nobody reads and actions the inspection reports that took so long to write and which contain nuggets of insights. Clearly they are not used to their fullest extent.

Oil and gas companies have been doing data analysis to make predictive maintenance plans for many years, but nearly all the time, they have only focussed on structured data held in databases.

This data is entered as a result of engineers typing numbers into forms and ticking boxes. 'It's all very well organised but a bit limited. '

Computer technology to automatically understand text has improved a great deal in recent years, he said.
Not so long ago, a computer system would be confused by a sentence such as 'Compressor A, which was installed to replace compressor B, is performing well,' he said. The computer systems would look for the verb and subject and just understand 'compressor B is performing well.' Now computer systems can understand the sentence properly.

Some industries are getting very advanced in working with unstructured data. For example, many call centres have computer tools which gauge the caller's mood and advise the operator accordingly based on words used and tone of voice.

It is not hard to imagine a computer system working in a similar way, gauging how concerned an engineer is about a problem from their choice of language in a written report.

'That's not in SAP,' he said. Computer systems are rarely comprehensive enough to capture all the information an engineer might want to provide as structured data. And it is a lot easier for an engineer to type in a comment such as 'this room feels too warm to sustain gas turbine XYZ' in a free text box, rather than ask the IT department to create a text box in the software saying 'tick this box if the room is too warm for gaz turbine XYZ'.

Associated Companies
» Teradata
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