The extraordinary growth and opportunity presented by unconventional resource plays is driving a “land grab” that is overwhelming oil and gas land departments. Land departments are challenged to manage unprecedented volumes of land data and create insight and intelligence with these data. Challenges exist across all phases of land data (Figure 1); these challenges magnify as data volumes increase. Despite recent growth, land data management practices have been slow to evolve. The management of land data remains dominated by local individualized approaches that are heavily dependent on Excel spreadsheets and individuals’ knowledge. This approach is not sustainable given the high level of activity driven by acquisitions and divestitures. Leading companies are transforming their land departments through three distinct steps:
- Streamlining the integration of land assets into the organization;
- Optimizing the enablement of land services within the organization; and
- Generating business insight from land data.
Integrating acquired land assets
The integration of assets into the organization’s existing processes and technology systems is foundational and has become more difficult as transaction volumes have increased. Land data must be input into the land and lease management system before any meaningful reporting or analytics can be conducted.
Land asset acquisitions typically take one of two forms: large acquisitions that include thousands of leases – typically entire companies, divisions, or prospects; and organic acquisition of smaller numbers of leases by company or contract landmen and brokers. Each presents its own challenges, and there are different prescriptions for accelerating the acquisition and integration of accurate land data for each.
Large acquisitions often are high-profile and highly strategic and bring with them increased pressure to perform. The board, executive team, and shareholders all are expecting performance, and this begins with asset integration. The sooner the asset is acquired and integrated into the organization, the sooner it can be developed and monetized.
The keys to a speedy integration are effective planning and plan execution. There are four areas that must be addressed during the planning process.
First, managers should know their organization and the roles and responsibilities of personnel associated with managing land data. The middle of a high-profile project is a bad time to be investigating and learning about the organization’s IT systems, data elements, IT capabilities, resource capabilities, and business rules. These need to be identified