BIG data can help to improve efficiency across many spheres of the domestic energy sector, Energy Minister Stuart Young said on Tuesday. One of the benefits would be the creation of a national energy data repository (NEDR) to store all of the data on Trinidad and Tobago's energy resources, Young also said during day one of the virtual UN-TT Big Data Forum.
Young said energy is one of the global industries that has benefitted from big data in ways such as recovering more oil and natural gas from hydrocarbon reservoirs and increasing the speed and accuracy of investment decisions.
"Real time and fast processing of data is crucial in oil and gas industry. Big data analytics enable the rapid processing and analysis of large amounts of data sets," he said.
On the creation of the NEDR, Young said the registry is an extension of the ministry's work to create a suitable storage space for all its energy data.
"Big data technologies will allow the ministry to extract and process data stored and captured in NEDR in its management of the sector to the benefit of the people of TT."
Big data will also improve efficiency in other areas within the energy sector. Young said the National Gas Company has developed a three-year technology strategy that can assist in areas such as detection of leaks on its 1,000 km of onshore and offshore gas pipelines, as well as maintenance of the network.
The TT Electricity Commission (TTEC), he continued, can use big data to match energy supply and demand on the national electricity grid, to improve energy production efficiency. "This ultimately leads to a reduction in the financial burden on the State."
Referring to plans to build a 112 megawatt solar facility in TT next year, Young said big data can be used to determine weather conditions in order to " enable a more accurate and efficient forecasting of solar power generation.
Touchstone president and CEO Paul Baay said TT has a wealth of 100 years of data on energy exploration. "You just think of that massive data set that exists," said Baay.
This data includes existing hydrocarbon reserves and seismic studies already conducted to find new reserves. Baay said big data can now be used to process some of this information. Should TT's energy data be digitised, he said it presents opportunities for companies seeking to tap into new energy sources or maximise existing ones. Big data also opportunities for university graduates with a technology background, establishing careers in the energy sector.
"It is a huge challenge but I also see it as a huge opportunity, especially for TT," he said.
Big data is defined as extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions. Globally, some recent studies have estimated that the big data and analytics market will increase from its US$189.1 billion value in 2019 to US$274.3 billion by 2027.