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Big Data in Oil and Gas

Big Data in Oil and Gas with Industry’s First Chief Data Scientist

In 2013, a famous study by MIT Technology Review revealed that only 0.5% of all data is ever analyzed. Imagine the enormity of all data that exists today. Things have changed since then but when it comes to the oil and gas industry, there are miles to cover in terms of adoption to digital technologies. Industry 4.0 brings unparalleled technology at the forefront and Big Data in Oil and Gas is an integral part of the ongoing digital disruption in this sector. Amid this backdrop, we have with us today, Dr. Satyam Priyadarshy in our series Stories that Inspire. In an extremely interesting and passionate conversation, Dr. Priyadarshy not only talks about Big Data in oil and gas but also sheds light upon his journey in the industry. 

Dr. Satyam Priyadarshy, Technology Fellow and Chief Data Scientist at Halliburton, is leading the Big Data and Data Science initiative at one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. A veteran of Big Data, Dr. Priyadarshy’s unique and innovative approach towards Data Science has earned him global recognition. His expertise reflects in all aspects of data that works in harmony with business and organizational strategy. He is considered as the first Chief Data Scientist of the oil and gas industry.

Dr. Priyadarshy’s contributions have added greatly to the top-line growth and bottom-line profitability of businesses. ADIPEC 2019 recognizes his contributions and Dr. Priyadarshy is an honoured guest and speaker at this grand oil and gas extravaganza. 

Dr. Satyam Priyadarshy’s inspiring journey in the industry and discussion on Big Data in Oil and Gas 

Dr. Satyam Priyadarshy

What motivated you to join the Oil and Gas Industry? 

Early 2013, I was introduced to a technology executive at BP through a friend in Washington DC Area for a social call, and he mentioned that the oil and gas industry needs a person with my expertise. Then at the end of 2013, it so happens that an executive recruiter from The FerVid Group called me out of nowhere, asking me if I was interested in looking at an oil and gas company for a role to lead Big Data and Data Science. 

The motivating factor was the promise of ‘large’ amounts of varied data, that was not fully monetized by the industry, and the degree of complexity across the oil-well lifecycle. This was fully synchronized with my expertise as I have been generating value from data since 1999 in multiple industries, by leveraging Big Data Technologies and full analytical value chain.

Also, as we say, Karma has a role of play, I grew up in the oil and gas industry, and had a couple of opportunities to join early on in my career, but other opportunities took me farther away from it. So, I saw unsolicited reach out to head Big Data and Data Science role and challenges associated with it, as a motivating factor to explore this industry, this time. 

The Oil and Gas industry is experiencing a digital revolution. How do you look at Big Data in Oil and Gas? 

Big Data in the oil and gas industry is a misunderstood term. It’s more than the data. A large number of definitions of Big Data are by folks who are copying from other people’s words, rather than actually having done any work with it.  

I refer to Big Data as a business paradigm that leverages all the data using a complete analytics value chain, to find hidden inefficiencies and grow the business, through a continuous data-driven transformation for maximizing the value of the assets. 

Big Data is extremely important for the oil and gas industry, for being a player in the Industry 4.0 era. 

Oil and Gas leaders are discussing the opportunities in collaboration. What is your take on collaboration in the industry?

The conversation of collaboration by the oil and gas leaders is a good sign for the industry. As an industry, our cost of inefficiency is in multi-billion dollars. Since 2015 I have been writing about the concept of data democratization, the explosion of data in the industry, capital waste, and other aspects. 

The path to tame and generate value for our industry is what I called co-innovation among the partners in this industry. We have successfully developed this SmartDigital framework for co-innovation and leveraged in generating value with operators in the various regions. 

How do you think such global exhibitions like ADIPEC can contribute in bringing the industry stakeholders together for advanced growth?

The global conferences and exhibitions like ADIPEC are a great place to generate interest among the stakeholders towards emerging technologies, paradigm shift needed to advance the growth of the oil and gas sector, especially in the era of Energy Transition that is taking place. 

These events have been fruitful in educating, empowering, and expanding the horizons of the stakeholders towards emerging trends and their value in our industry. 

What would you be talking about this year at ADIPEC?

While the industry keeps talking about maximizing the asset value at the lowest cost possible, there has been a lack of interest in an important asset called data.

 I have been talking about it for some time and now the industry has picked on the Digitalization, Data-Driven, etc. in the last two years at a greater pace. However, the pace of adopting digital technologies in our industry faces a multitude of impediments, even though there are proven positive impact of such adoption.  One of those impediments can be easily addressed with Co-innovation that requires a transformation of talent and innovation culture in a wide-range of the oil and gas professionals including the leadership. 

In this talk, I will discuss some of the aspects of the Digital Executive Summit and Talent transformation. 

Tell us a little about your time at Halliburton. 

My journey at Halliburton begins in early 2014 when I joined as the Chief Data Scientist. However, 2014 and 2015 turned out to be tough years for the industry, but Halliburton’s focus on Data-driven innovation and Digital did not lose focus. 

I am humbled by the opportunity to build the Industry’s first Big Data and Data Science Center of Excellence (BD&DS COE) with the sole focus on generating value from E&P Data, by leveraging Big Data technologies and Data Science.  The BD&DS COE has successfully recruited Data Scientists with varied educational disciplines and greater diversity, including a high percentage of women data scientists. Now the center has expanded into multiple countries.

I have been fortunate to meet over 20 international/national oil companies leaders during the course of the last three years and discuss and deploy solutions to generate value from dark data. We established the SmartDigital and co-innovation approach to benefit the industry, not just Halliburton and it has seen traction among the partners of Halliburton. In the last two years, we have developed the talent transformation approach, through our customized data science training that has now garnered significant interest and adoption both internally and industry-wide. 

I got the opportunities to address challenges in Exploration, Drilling, Completion, Reservoir Management, HSE, Supply Chain and other areas. Such diversity and complexity does not exist in many industries and combine this with the conservative and risk-averse culture the role at Halliburton provides an environment for paradigm shift approaches to make our industry competitive in the era of energy transition.  

I have been fortunate to be recognized by CNBC, Forbes Insights, JPT, RigZone, Petroleum Review, Oil Review Middle East, DEW Journal among others for my contribution. Also, the role at Halliburton provided me an opportunity to contribute significantly to the mission of SPE, SEG, AAPG, ECIM, EAGE, GeoIndia and others around the globe.  

I am fortunate to be able to mentor and coach a number of great data scientists and present their work on their behalf around the world, thus growing awareness of our BD&DS COE and its mission to help transform our industry. 

We are on a mission to help industry with their digital journey with the co-innovated, contextualized and customized approach, rather than out-of-box outdated solutions provided by horizontal vendors.  I have been fortunate to conduct a significant number of executive digital summits for the top leaders of the oil and gas industry, and the transformation it brings to approached by the leaders to get on a digital journey has proven very successful. I also became the Technology Fellow at Halliburton

The work at Halliburton and industry-wide has been now recognized by many industry bodies like Constellation Research, Smart Industry, etc. and I am humbled by their inclusion of my name in top global leaders known for bringing transformational changes.

What do you think about the industry work culture? 

Industry culture is varied and diversified, but there are some common elements across established giants of the industry/ During the 5 years, the one question that has been consistently asked by the middle-level to top leaders in our industry is “Have you deployed this solution elsewhere? If not, come back after it’s proven.” The leadership is used to proven elsewhere phenomenon. However, with Big Data and Data Science solutions, when there are no standards in data collection, store across the industry, expecting solutions proven elsewhere to work in their context seems like a dichotomy. Hence the growth of co-innovation culture becomes essential for our industry. 

What would you say to the millennials keen on joining the industry?

Millennials that are keen to join the industry, should be aware of the cultural nuances of the oil and gas industry, and its differences with the entrepreneurial network out there in a bigger job market.

The oil and gas industry does have scientific and technical challenges that are different than other soft industries, and these challenges require solutions that could be path-breaking in many cases. The industry also has a wealth of corporate tacit knowledge that is essential, easily accessible, and empowers to accelerate the engagement in the industry. The industry is ripe for implementing the emerging technologies and next-generation entrepreneurial solutions, as it wants to remain competitive in the global energy transitional era. 

In your opinion, what aspect of the industry with respect to technology should be discussed more in the larger community?

The industry has been talking for too long about digitization, and now digitalization. However, the industry needs to seriously discuss Digital transformation and its lead to Disruption. For example, the role of the cloud computing paradigm needs to be discussed from the solution, value and total cost of ownership aspect rather than a single source of the data lake, as propagated by horizontal vendors. 

Digital transformation is not a one size fits all approach for the industry, but a journey taken with serious implementation of contextualized and customized solutions across the business lifecycle of the enterprise and its ecosystem. 

In this digital age, Energy Dais envisions to simplify energy, by bringing the industry together on a singular digital platform. The idea is to bring about collaboration across the oil and gas value chain for enhanced efficiencies. We would love to hear your feedback on our platform

Every small step toward increasing collaboration, co-innovation that will reduce hidden inefficiencies in our oil and gas industry, so the industry remains competitive, effective and contribute towards the sustainability of our energy sources is a welcome step.  The Energy Dais initiative is a great start.

Collaborating with and ODSU platforms could accelerate the pace of digital adoption across the industry. 

Big Data in Oil and Gas: Towards a True Digital Journey

“The oil and gas industry has tried aspects of the digital revolution for over two decades when the concept and some implementations of partial Digital Oilfields were put into place and the concept of Integrated Reservoir Management was talked about. However, even after two decades, a true digital journey has not started for the industry.”

To put things into perspective, all data is critical in oil and gas but for making the right decisions, not all pieces of data are critical. How the industry identifies the most potential pieces will be quite challenging but the industry is moving towards the new reality.

Oil and Gas companies are looking at Big Data in oil and gas as an innovative solution to enhance productivity and improve processes. 

It is true that the oil and gas industry has dealt with huge volumes of data, variety, and velocity. To truly capture the essence and benefits of technology and big data in oil and gas, the industry must start thinking beyond the existing limitations.

We are extremely thankful to Dr. Satyam Priyadarshy for taking out some time and sharing his journey in oil and gas with us. We hope his story inspires you and helps you lead change and innovative solutions across the global oil and gas community.

(This is an excerpt from an exclusive interview with Dr. Satyam Priyadarshy and Energy Dais reserves all rights of publication.)


Garima Gayatri


With a background in English Literature and a diverse experience in writing and editing, Garima now focuses her creative energy in the energy sector. She believes that the world needs to be more aware of the myriad shades of the energy landscape. Being extremely passionate about people in this industry, Garima currently engages in bringing out real stories to inspire hope and change.


  • A comprehensive engagement with Dr Priyadarshi who shares his experience, expectations and vision in the field and the industry with Ms Gayatri, editor Energy Dais. A well structured interview, informed queries and richly informative answers.


Garima Gayatri


With a background in English Literature and a diverse experience in writing and editing, Garima now focuses her creative energy in the energy sector. She believes that the world needs to be more aware of the myriad shades of the energy landscape. Being extremely passionate about people in this industry, Garima currently engages in bringing out real stories to inspire hope and change.

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