''The modern organization marches on storage, like the soldier marches on his stomach,'' says Alan Nunns, GM of global strategy at Chevron. ''This is especially true in the oil business due to its information intensity.''
He estimates that the massive global IT and storage machine behind Chevron adds 1 cent a gallon to the price of gas. But he believes that current gas prices would be much higher now if not for storage technology advancing the art of exploration and cutting the amount of test drilling required by a factor of five.
''Without the use of 3D seismic data and a massive repository of well-managed data, gas might cost $6 a gallon by now,'' says Nunns. ''Since we implemented our global storage network, we have gotten much better at finding new reserves of oil.''
Before, five to 10 exploratory holes were sunk before success, but that number is now down to about two drills per strike. Nunns attributes this mainly to new IT and storage capabilities.
Finding New Reserves
Case in point: Nigeria. A large region of that country was thought to be depleted of oil. Older two-dimensional seismic data revealed no more prospects of oil in the area.
The company switched to 3D seismic, and with the capacity available from modern arrays, began storing vast amounts of 3D seismic data. It was able to add to this data pool by adding archives of old 2D seismic data. The result: modeling became so efficient that technicians began to go over old ground with a fresh view. This led to them discovering one of the biggest new fields found in a decade.
''We thought there were no more prospects in this region, yet we discovered a billion-barrel field,'' says Nunns.