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Equipping Petroleum Engineers in Calgary With Critical Data Skills

DataCamp supported the 2020 DUC Datathon presented by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and Untapped Energy.
Sep 2020  · 4 min read

In the past few years, and especially during the COVID-19 crisis, the oil and gas industry has been significantly challenged, subject to wildly fluctuating oil prices caused by unprecedented world events, limited market access, and uncertain government regulations.

Why data skills are crucial for the future of petroleum engineering

Many professionals in petroleum engineering have been in the field for years and are reckoning with an incoming tide of digital transformation initiatives. They’re contemplating what these shifts in the digital landscape mean for their careers. Some are looking to enhance their skillsets, while others are considering pivoting out of engineering and into data-driven roles.

While individual aspirations vary, there’s a common refrain: Petroleum engineers are looking for different avenues to progress their data skills and need assistance determining what that path looks like. Learning these skills and putting them into practice in real-world petroleum industry projects remains challenging.

The industry-wide importance of DUCs

A topic of industry-wide importance is Drilled but Uncompleted Wells (DUCs), which impact the supply and demand of oil and gas, and are often the subject of intense discussion and controversy. At any moment, many potential wells have been drilled but not all wells are completed, impacting commodity pricing, regulatory reporting, and capital management. Industry stakeholders are looking for ways to determine how many DUCs exist and what conditions may cause them to begin producing.

Building data literacy with DataCamp

This is why DataCamp is proud to have sponsored the 2020 DUC Datathon presented by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and Untapped Energy. In July and August, 150 participants received free access to DataCamp’s Premium plan, where they had the opportunity to become familiar with in-demand open-source programming languages like Python and R. Along with DataCamp access, participants took part in virtual bootcamps and instructor-led lessons on specific tools for data science in the field of petroleum engineering.

The partnership and generosity that DataCamp demonstrated were critical to the success of the event. Analytics revealed that there was a high degree of engagement with DataCamp that more than exceeded expectations. DataCamp helped to level the playing field since we had such a diverse range of participants. Working with DataCamp really elevated the quality level of the event overall. —Tim Chan, Cofounder, Untapped Energy

The 2020 DUC Datathon learning competition

The goal of the Datathon was to foster data literacy skills for all participants, create new partnerships and relationships, and get participants comfortable working with data specific to DUCs.

Participants use data in their roles but may not be bona fide data scientists. Regardless of their role, everybody is a data practitioner to some degree. The idea of this event is to leverage those skills, equip them with additional tools and learnings, and help them to tackle specific problems in their area of work. —Tim Chan, Cofounder, Untapped Energy

The 2020 DUC Datathon featured a learning competition, awarding one year of DataCamp access to the participant who completed the most courses. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, which affirmed the goals of the event—especially in these strange times. Plans are underway for a similar but larger event in 2021.

By using the DataCamp platform in July and August, I found that learning a new programming language has become simpler. Each topic has a detailed step-by-step guide, with practice through targeted questions, and case studies that helped to deepen my understanding. While learning Python, R, and SQL on DataCamp, I practiced using module imports and function calls and writing user-defined functions. It has greatly enhanced my ability to analyze, model, and interpret data. —Jingwen Huang, winner of the 2020 DUC Datathon DataCamp Learning Competition

As the world rapidly digitizes, data literacy has become a crucial skill—everyone now needs to be a data practitioner. You can also propel your career forward by combining learnings from a world-class learning platform like DataCamp with practical applications and networking opportunities from a datathon event.


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