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Own Your Land [Departments]

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, in order to make money, you have to spend it. For Land Departments, this is particularly true, as one of their single greatest and most important costs is land leases. These mineral rights transactions are often so complicated that they require the involvement of litigation experts and government regulators, adding to the cost. Doing this job, and doing it well, is not cheap; but Land Departments consistently invest in these processes and procedures because providing those critical lease documents to their field operation team while simultaneously managing the department’s relationship with owners is the most important role that they play. As a result, most Land Managers exert absolute control over their data, making sure that they can meticulously track it from each source to each destination.

Historically, most Land Managers have relied on spreadsheets to monitor and maintain this data; however, although spreadsheets allow departments to manage and transfer their data, they are not auditable, lack control and enterprise visibility, and are a liability for compliance requirements. As a result, more and more departments are moving towards a land management application, such as P2 Land, TEL/TLS or Quorum. Land Applications solve many of the issues associated with spreadsheets, but they also present a new one: how do they incorporate the business intelligence and processes specific to your department and enterprise into their functionality?

One example is the process of paying mineral rights owners and, conversely, the billing of working interest partners. Most land applications do not come with built in integrators for Accounting systems, and yet paying owners and billing partners are two of the most critical functions for land data. For many lessors, a check in mail (or ACH) is the only evidence that proves E&P companies are holding up their end of the bargain (or lease agreement). Should a land department move to an application-based data management system, it absolutely must be a flexible and extendable solution that can share data with all of the proper departments.

It is here that the experience of the managers, the robust and expansive business intelligence they’ve acquired, will be more valuable than ever. Once a solution is chosen (and we strongly suggest you defer to a consultative one), this knowledge will help the vendor quickly design integration capabilities for the application from any source, helping the technology conform to recognizable and proven processes that serve, not subserviate, land managers. A quick turnaround will be an absolute life-saver when the deadlines are based on yesterday and the data keeps pouring in like there’s no tomorrow.

As a service provider to many oil and gas companies, we have grounded our solutions with the knowledge and experience we have gleaned from many years of work with both Land and Accounting Departments. For one such engagement, we focused on the extraction, transformation, and loading of TEL data into staging tables, a solution we created based on the collective industry knowledge of our experts and the Land Managers. Our consultants integrated this data into Oracle EBS APIs for both the Payables and Receivables department. This connected the Invoice Maintenance module in TEL to the ERP systems used by the Accounting Department, giving greater functionality to the TEL through the ability to streamline the manual creation of invoices or update of the existing ones, as well as the ability to void existing invoice data from prior period transactions. As a result of this collaborative effort, the project was completed in just one short month.

For Land Departments who are thinking about moving to a land management system, don’t worry; you are still the boss. Extensions and integrators allow you to get what you need from your applications without sacrificing the most important component for success: human intelligence.

Oil and Gas

Supercharge your IT Systems with Extensions

The bad news is that the Oil and Gas industry has been having a rough year so far, and the downward pressure on pricing is likely to sustain for the near future. But there’s some good news, too: time and time again, industry professionals have proven that they possess near-superhuman abilities when it comes to being flexible and adaptive, despite the challenges they regularly face in the fields, the regulatory landscape and the back office.

Unfortunately, the ability of standard IT Systems to be flexible and adaptive is…well…less than super. This creates an extremely inefficient and complex environment for decision-makers upgrading, implementing and integrating specialized operational solutions for their companies. In our experience, we’ve seen the following challenges affecting productivity and success:

  • Insufficient reconciliation of key metrics due to varying departmental focuses
  • Inability to enable production allocation networks to handle complex events such as gas lift and buy back
  • Difficulty in monitoring field equipment (like meters) 24*7 to ensure accurate volumetric readings and calibration
  • Inaccurate storage of title changes and the corresponding tax components
  • Incomplete, sometimes non-existent, availability of ownership data or life events involving ownership changes
  • Data fragmentation or inaccuracies due to frequent merger, acquisition and divestiture activity

So how can Oil and Gas professionals avoid being paralyzed in the present or trapped in the past by their IT environments? And can they solve these issues without breaking their budgets?

One option, is, of course, to implement an updated enterprise system that addresses more current needs. However, while it’s crucial that you build your IT infrastructure on best of breed software, implementations are extremely high capital and effort intensive. They also carry the risk of becoming “scope challenged” by the time it’s ready for company-wide use, due to the long implementation cycle. Conversely, if the implementation is fast tracked, compromises may have to be made on scope and functionality, causing additional fragmentation of business processes, data and any underlying IT infrastructure.

To maximize your budget and minimize project delivery time, we suggest option two: supercharge your current system with extensions. These small, operations-oriented solutions are quick to implement and allow companies to provide measurable ROI and benefits to stakeholders in a very short period of time. By focusing on extensions that target specific workflow or process gaps within the business, an IT system can be enhanced to meet larger strategic goals, maximize value, and eliminate waste without straining your budget.

We’ve found that consultative Application Development and Reporting Solutions are particularly successful in improving process issues. For example, a mid-size Oil and Gas company wanted to improve overall Enterprise Asset Management, but didn’t have the time or budget to implement a new, comprehensive EAM system. Consultants designed a custom application that targeted AFE uploads, aiming to streamline this process and drastically reduce capital effort. The short, 3 month implementation of this simple application has saved the company over $3 million in operational costs between the Land, Revenue and Accounting departments, better enabling overall EAM without a full-scale implementation.

Extensions are the radioactive spider bite, the gamma rays or the Super Serum that gives your ordinary IT infrastructure sudden super-powers. They help your systems run better and stronger; they give the ultimate boost without breaking your budget, increasing productivity and workability across an entire enterprise, thereby letting your workforce of superheroes shine.


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