Why geoscientists and CIOs don't see eye to eye

How to balance the geologist's ultimate goal of short time to oil with the CIO's need for cost control?
Published: 10 June 2020 Read Time : 3 minutes

Geoscience produces tremendous amounts of data, and the scientists rely on powerful IT-tools and infrastructure to be at their best. On the other hand, a CIO can expect no rewards if cost estimates are regularly exceeded. We may label it as a natural conflict, but I would turn it around and ask if both can achieve their goals without limiting the other's prospects.

Facts, competence, and pragmatism: At Cegal, we find these three values unbeatable to overcome information silos and leverage good forces in an E&P company. We balance the geologist's ultimate goal of short time to oil with the CIO's need for cost control.


When dealing with these kinds of processes, we always establish a benchmark from where we start the communication.

Cegal has tools to quantify the workloads of the most popular applications in the industry. We assess the client's workflows and find when loads peak. Analyzing those data, we understand the need of a particular role while being able to specify the required data power for the IT department.

We work with the client to establish a tiering system matching the established capacity needs for each role in the G&G section. Geoscientists can be sure to get sufficient data power, and CIOs avoid arming everyone with hardware that's a necessity for just a few individuals.

These facts are appealing to both geoscientists and IT-professionals.


The most popular applications in the business was built between 20 and 30 years ago. Although updated through the years, their core is more or less the same. The software puts heavy loads on graphic cards and core processors, and you need to know a thing or two about clock frequencies and other software engine features to implement them into any geotechnical workflow.

At Cegal we know the ins and outs of these applications. The key to optimizing and integrating them with other applications in a particular workflow is that we also master geoscience. Our geoscientists have faced the challenges, made the mistakes, felt the competition, and have an in-depth understanding of the high science in the geotechnical domain.


Conflicts between IT and geoscience is rarely due to personal characteristics, but rather to role-specified goals that do not match.

Our mission is to play the role of the trusted advisor by joining competencies within a company and making them understand each other's pain points and goals. Trusted because we speak the tribal language of both high-science and IT.

Balancing both sides' needs, we look for solutions and have the third-party’s freedom of being pragmatic. We use facts to establish a relevant business case and develop stable processes with defined KPIs.

Expensive labor

Lack of proper business cases can highlight differences and worsen efficiancy in an E&P company. Unfortunately, a cloud solution won't mitigate this risk, just by being a cloud solution.

When companies deploy a centralized solution without proper groundwork, the unwanted side effects are ever to be well-known:

  • Slow and unstable systems
  • Senior geoscientists not adapting to the new tech
  • No or inadequate training
  • Lack of goodwill from G&G
  • Poor communication
  • A solution imposed on the organization from the c-level

Geoscientists are highly sought after experts and therefore well compensated, and I've witnessed companies reducing productivity by as much as 30% when doing this the wrong way. That's a lot of money for a company with several hundred employees in the G&G department.

Look to Norway?

Although Cegal being a Norwegian company, that's not the reason for bringing Norway into the story. It has to do with Norwegian tax legislation favoring heavily towards E&P-investments. The Norwegian continental shelf is thus a test badge for new technology. That is also the case with Cegal's GeoCloud solution, which can be seen at various early adopters in the North Sea.

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Written by Terje Gundersen

Terje is Strategic Business Advisor at Cegal.

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