Technology & Innovation
Marathon Oil has made significant progress in using technologies and data to achieve operational excellence and boost business performance. We’re able to monitor the health of our fields remotely in real time, proactively manage our production assets, predict production early in a well’s life and automate wells, facilities and repetitive tasks. As a result, we’ve increased efficiency, enhanced well and facility uptime, improved safety and environmental performance, and lowered costs. Our investment in technology also prepared us to seamlessly migrate to a work-from-home environment when COVID-19 struck, allowing us to remain connected to our teams.
We believe integrating the digital and physical worlds differentiates Marathon Oil and sets the foundation for even more innovation in the future. We’re using unconventional thinking to solve problems and drive the power of data even further.
Ensuring Strong Cyber Security Resiliency
As society’s reliance on energy and information technology grows, so do the number and sophistication of cyber security threats. Managing these risks has become more important than ever.
Like all entities, our information network and systems are subject to constantly-evolving cyber threats and threat actors. Over the past three years, because of the safeguards we have put in place, Marathon Oil has avoided any material impacts to our business, operations or reputation due to cyberattacks or other security-related incidents. We must, however, remain vigilant.
We’ve designed our enterprise cyber security programs to fortify people, processes and technologies across our assets, facilities and operations. We also seek to do business with partners and service providers who share our vision of implementing and enforcing effective cyber security controls across these key areas.
- In terms of people, cyber security awareness remains one of our best defenses. We leverage formal training in our required annual compliance training and incorporate other training and educational opportunities in videos, hands-on training and periodic cyber security-related bulletins and helpful tips. We also conducted a month-long cyber security awareness campaign aligned with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and provided resources to help employees work from home safely.
- Our processes include a suite of IT and security policies and procedures, including a corporate security incident response plan, a new Information Use and Management Policy and tabletop simulation exercises that involve different stakeholder groups that leverage our relationships with external legal, forensics and crisis communications partners.
- Our technical controls are continuously evaluated and assessed. In 2020, we focused on improvement in the following areas:
- Access management
- Perimeter defense
- Malware defense
- Data encryption
- Event correlation
- Endpoint detection and response
Our approach is informed by external cyber security experts and assessed against the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards. In 2020, we worked with third-party cyber security firms to conduct a maturity assessment of our cyber security environment and to perform penetration tests of our networks. We used common threats such as social engineering and vulnerability scanning to assess the effectiveness of our cyber defenses and staff awareness. The results will inform our cyber-defenses strategies moving forward.
Marathon Oil’s senior leadership and the Audit and Finance Committee of our board receive regular cyber security updates, with formal reporting to the full board at least twice annually. We’re led by two board members who have experience with cyber security issues facing the oil and gas industry. In addition, 100% of our Audit and Finance Committee members are independent.
We believe our current insurance coverage is adequate to rebuild and reinstate assets should we experience a cyber-related event. We also have processes to provide redundant computing operations should a cyber-event occur that requires the back up of data both online and offline.
Enhancing Performance by Adopting a Data-Driven Culture
We use data and our digital oilfield operations center (OCC) to make better decisions across our production management value chain, allowing our Field Service Management (FSM) system to optimize maintenance, measurement, pigging and production operations. Using FSM, we’re addressing the challenge of managing these key processes on a fully integrated mobile platform that operators can access in real-time on their smartphones to ensure operational efficiency and safety performance.
With FSM, work is prioritized and scheduled based on predefined business rules and objectives, and then individuals or crews that meet the required skill set are automatically dispatched. It also assigns the optimal driving route, which reduces drive time and the associated risk of accidents.
We first deployed the FSM system – a platform customized for Marathon Oil’s needs – to our Eagle Ford asset in 2019. Based on learnings, we expanded it to all our assets in 2020. Since the rollout of FSM, we’re seeing positive results from increased equipment uptime due to reduced task cycle time; increased utilization, productivity and efficiency of field support personnel by streamlined communications, improved transparency and elimination of duplicate work; increased efficiency by boosting first-time fix rate and completing more tasks during a single visit. In addition, by leveraging our field personnel know-how, we’ve been able to improve the system logic to optimize work execution and reduce our field paper-based processes by more than 70%.
To further enhance our environmental performance monitoring, during 2020, FSM was expanded to incorporate health, environmental and safety (HES) functionality. This allowed us to shift our in-field inspections from a time-consuming manual process to a fully digital one that integrates leak detection and drone-captured repair data with our maintenance system. We expect these changes to strengthen data-collection efficiency and data quality while reducing travel time for our teams.
Using the same core technology as FSM, we’re addressing the complicated and costly challenge of managing the produced water disposal process. The transportation management system (TMS) we developed combines our OCC, vendor dispatchers and truck drivers onto a common mobile workflow platform. It schedules haulers in advance, assigns the most efficient and safest driving route, tracks progress from the OCC in real-time using GPS, and assures delivery to an approved water-disposal site.
We’re seeing positive results from faster haul times, more accurate information and vendor alignment in the Permian Basin. In 2020, we implemented TMS across all of our operations, gaining better visibility into the overall process and compliance with our contract terms. We also enhanced TMS to dispatch hauling of produced water directly to frac locations in the Bakken, reducing disposal costs and freshwater requirements.
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