iCORDS Platform – ‘Analytics Ready’ Geoscientific Data for Offshore Oil & Gas Exploration

Originally published on February 2, 2017 at LinkedIn by Matthias Greb, EGI Senior Geologic Advisor

Drilling for oil and gas is an expensive endeavor. A dry well represents wasted time and significant financial loss for exploration and production (E&P) companies operating the world’s vast offshore areas. With low and unstable crude oil commodity prices, today’s exploration activities require a solid foundation built on relevant, consolidated, high quality geoscientific data when delineating prospects for subsequent drilling.

Raw geoscientific data available for offshore areas is, in most cases, provided through academic sources and governmental agencies, and comes from a variety of disciplines such as sedimentology, geochemistry, geophysics, petrophysics, biostratigraphy and chronostratigraphy.

Figure 1. ‘Analytics ready’ data framework from a geoscience perspective currently implemented in the iCORDS curation workflows.

The amount of publicly available data relevant for offshore exploration may well be in the range of several terabytes and poses a significant, expensive and time consuming task for E&P companies and their data teams to gather and analyze. In many cases, such data may not be available in digital format and requires a manual extraction process from paper copies or microfilm. This data is usually highly disparate, incomplete, and inadequately referenced to its original source making a comprehensive quality assessment of the data near impossible. This illuminates the industry’s need for greater access to curated data that is ‘analytics ready’ (Figure 1).

On average, more than half the time spent on an offshore exploration project is consumed by initial data mining, conditioning and integration. This stage is critical as it decides to a large part on the accuracy and quality of the resulting basin or prospect assessment. The iCORDS platform facilitates the reduction of time spent on data collection, thereby enabling exploration teams to make better-informed decisions faster.

Figure 2: Data sources and global data coverage currently available in iCORDS, integrated into a web-based GIS platform for easy access.

In response to this market need, and at the request of industry partners of the Energy & Geoscience Institute (EGI) at the University of Utah, EGI scientists developed and launched iCORDS, an easy-to-use cloud based knowledge platform that provides interactive access to a large array of publicly available as well as proprietary EGI data. Platform users from more than twenty E&P companies have provided valuable feed­back to further improve software performance with regards to query functionalities, export formats and GIS integration as well as which data would be most relevant to curate and host on the platform (Figure 2).

The iCORDS solution has two key technologies: a) data curation driven by large-scale data science and b) data discovery via an interactive web-based GIS platform. EGI scientists have developed a series of data transform and curation scripts to harmonize disparate geo­scientific data sources into a single, unified database. This unified database-engine allows fast and efficient data organization using filtering and curation rules, which verify the logical value range of a measurement, find typos or gaps in data records and track data provenance and source. The web-based platform allows direct access to the curated and unified geoscientific data that is at this final stage ‘analytics ready’ for subsequent E&P exploration workflows. This allows exploration teams to focus more of their time in finding oil and gas rather than sifting through and organizing disparate data sets from different sources and vintages.

Figure 3: The iCORDS platform allows exploring data by providing access to global datasets and query functions to filter out the most relevant information for subsequent analysis in petroleum exploration workflows.

Today, iCORDS’ global geoscientific data collection consists of:

DSDP/ODP/IODP Ocean Drilling Data

  • 3,500+ well sites
  • 380,000 meters of comprehensive core data
  • 20+ million curated raw data points
  • Data including organic geochemistry, biostratigraphy, sedimentology, petrophysics and well log data

Canadian Offshore Wells

  • 1,000+ well sites
  • Data including organic geochemistry, biostratigraphy, sedimentology, petrophysics and well log data
  • 100,000+ individual records

US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Wells

  • 1,500+ well sites
  • legacy exploration data from two decades of continental shelf drilling activities; data sets include organic geochemistry, sedimentology, biostratigraphy, petrophysics and geophysics
  • 100,000+ individual records


  • 18 well sites
  • Legacy data from industry consortium drilling campaign
  • Data records cover several disciplines ranging from organic geochemistry, sedimentology, and biostratigraphy to petrophysics and geophysics, with 10,000+ individual data records

Post Cruise Ocean Drilling Scientific Reports

  • 38,000+ offshore drilling articles and scientific contributions through www.pangea.de

 Seismic Data

  • Over 5+ million kilometers of Regional 2-D & 3-D SEGY Seismic data from both the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) and The University of Texas Geophysical Institute (UTIG)

Heatflow Data

  • Over 61,000+ unique data points and measurements from the IHFC

EGI OCEANS Research Reports

  • Integrated access to EGI Oceans reports and data
  • Chronostratigraphic cross sections
  • Integrated petroleum system profiles
  • Detailed site reports
  • Regional synopsis and petroleum system summaries

EGI’s Global Proprietary Reports and Curated Data including

  • 455,000+ kilometers of global seismic data
  • 198,000+ International well locations
  • 164,000+ geochemical data analyses
  • 76,000+ Structural/Seismic Transects
  • 2,500+ Chronostratigraphic Charts
  • 800+ EGI Scientific Reports
  • 650+ geologic maps
  • 60 EGI global studies in ArcGIS layers