New Industry Guidance for Retention of Information and Samples after Decommissioning

CDA has issued new guidance that will support companies in planning decommissioning more efficiently.

Developed in collaboration with the Shell Brent Decommissioning Project, and the School of Law at the University of Aberdeen, the Guidance on the Retention of Information Received or Created by UK-Based Oil Companies Associated with a Decommissioned Asset supports operators in determining what data and documents must be retained after an offshore asset is removed for dismantling.

Daniel Brown, Manager, CDA Projects, said: “Over the 40-plus year lifespan of an offshore asset, many thousands of boxes of physical records, and millions of electronic files are created and then stored at substantial ongoing cost.

“Once the asset is removed to be dismantled, many of these records are no longer required – but deciding what must be retained, and what may lawfully be destroyed is not a simple task.

This example retention schedule and guidance supports companies as they make retention decisions, and work to eliminate this otherwise costly sting in the tail of decommissioning – the retention of data and documents for years or decades longer than needed. We hope this framework is useful for companies and we would like to hear their feedback on its content and use.”

An open workshop will be held in March 2018 to present current understanding on records retention requirements after decommissioning, and to receive feedback on these documents, so that they may be improved over time with a view to minimising the overall information legacy of decommissioning.

If you wish to be invited to the workshop, or have any questions or feedback on the documents, please contact Daniel Brown at [email protected].

04 Jan 2018
Award win for CDA

Common Data Access (CDA) is celebrating today after scooping a win at last night’s (December 14) UK Association Awards Ceremony in Manchester.

CDA – a subsidiary of Oil & Gas UK – won the Best eLearning/Online Education award for its innovative Graduate Certificate in Petroleum Data Management.

The online course – the first of its kind – is designed to be studied anywhere in the world while working full-time. The course is part of a collaborative programme led and funded by CDA and delivered by Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen to establish Petroleum Data Management (PDM) as a recognised professional discipline.

CDA Chief Executive Malcolm Fleming said: “We are absolutely delighted that our course has been recognised by this award.

“This course is a result of a fantastic collaborative effort between the oil and gas industry and our academic partner the Robert Gordon University. We are extremely grateful for the time and expertise contributed by everyone involved, and to their respective companies for the support. The valuable input we’ve received from so many key industry specialists to create the course will help ensure it delivers a generation of academically-qualified data managers that meets the needs of our membership and the wider industry.

“The course is a very significant step towards the recognition of petroleum data management as a professional discipline – it increases the status and standing of the individuals in the profession, providing for the first time, a benchmark for professional development and recruitment. Professionalised PDM will help achieve operational success through increasingly professional data management which could ultimately help operators and their partners maximise economic recovery and extend field life.”

Jo Royle, Head of the School of Creative and Cultural Business at RGU, added: “RGU is thrilled to see CDA gaining recognition for their support in bringing this course to life. The emergence and development of any new profession relies on pioneering individuals and organisations giving of their passion, expertise and resources. CDA and its members are such pioneers. From their initial approach to RGU, through a multitude of development stages, CDA and its members were committed and determined to deliver this course to an incredibly high standard. We are proud of our shared achievement and look forward to supporting this vital profession as it continues to mature.”

15 Dec 2017
OGA 2016 Seismic Programme data released through CDA

Data from the UK Oil & Gas Authority’s 2016 Seismic Programme is now available to download and order on media through CDA’s UKOilandGasData system.

The data comprises approx. 19,000km of newly acquired broadband 2D seismic, gravity and magnetic data in the South West of Britain and East Shetland Platform; over 23,000km of reprocessed proprietary and commercial seismic from these and many other areas around the UKCS; and a range of supplementary information, including released well data and joined logs for 236 wells. Workstation-ready packages are also available in Petrel and OpenWorks formats.

This release continues CDA’s close cooperation with the OGA over the publication of UKCS well and seismic data. Together, the two organisations have now made available under open conditions of use nearly 100Tb of technical data, comprising over 80,000 km of newly acquired or reprocessed 2D seismic; and logs, reports, and other data for over 1,200 wells.

Malcolm Fleming, CDA’s Chief Executive, said: “The significant improvement in the quality and availability of the data over these areas will allow geoscientists to re-evaluate previous interpretations, leading to a re-think of the prospectivity and potential of the petroleum systems in place and reappraisal of discoveries previously thought to be uneconomic, as well as the discovery of new prospects for exploration drilling.”

The data may be accessed through Packages less than 20Gb in size may be downloaded free of charge, while larger datasets may be ordered on media.

A list of seismic lines, wells and shape files included in the release may be found in the ‘Overview Material’ data package, downloadable via the OGA ‘2016 Seismic Programme’ tab in UKOilandGasData.

If you have any questions regarding the data release and how to obtain data of interest, please contact [email protected].

27 Nov 2017
CDA Shortlisted for eLearning Award

CDA has been shortlisted in the 2017 UK Association Awards, for the development of the RGU Graduate Certificate in Petroleum Data Management. The “Best eLearning / Online Education” award recognises virtual learning, information, or education delivery which benefits members or the sector. The course development project will be judged on criteria including the background and purpose of the project, innovation, collaboration with service providers, member engagement, marketing, and achievement of objectives.

The Association Awards is open to any membership organisation, and is organised by The Association of Association Executives, which recognises and promotes excellence in associations.

Winners will be announced at the UK Association Awards Ceremony, taking place in Manchester, UK, on 14 December.

20 Nov 2017
Common Data Access response to the Oil and Gas Authority National Data Repository consultation

Common Data Access (CDA) notes that the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has today started consulting on its proposal to transform from a member-funded platform provided by CDA into a key component of a new central UK National Data Repository (NDR).  The service would continue to be delivered by CDA under contract to the OGA.

The new NDR will build on the current UKOilandGasData model, which has been in operation since 1995. The on-line platform allows the industry to meet its statutory obligations to share data on wells and seismic research on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) as well as providing a range of valuable collaborative data sharing and management services for industry.

Chief Executive of CDA, Malcolm Fleming, said:

“The NDR is a natural and very positive development for UKOilandGasData and for CDA. Incorporating into a new repository under the regulator’s control is, ultimately, an effective and efficient means to support MER UK – maximising economic recovery of the UK’s remaining oil and gas.”

The new service, agreed conditionally in principle by the Board of CDA and the OGA, would be delivered by CDA under contract to the OGA for two years with effect from 1 January 2019. The consultation reveals that OGA intends to fund the contract with CDA from January 2019 through an increase in the annual Industry Levy, which would be offset by the payments made directly by members to CDA being discontinued from the end of 2018.

Malcolm Fleming added:

“While in many respects, it will be business as usual for CDA over the coming months, we believe the industry needs to maintain a strong interest in the ongoing governance of the platform in the longer term in order to preserve the value it has delivered for the sector over the years as well as to develop it to meet industry’s needs in the future.

“CDA will have these principles very much in mind as it negotiates the arrangement with the OGA of the details of the transformation of UKOilandGasData. The longer-term implications for CDA and its members, will become clearer as we work together over the next few months.  We shall consult our members and with Oil & Gas UK stakeholders and respond to the OGA in due course with our views on the nature of this relationship and its funding going forward.”


For more information, please contact Communications Manager Jennifer Phillips [email protected] or 01224 577331.

Note to Editors:

CDA (Common Data Access Limited) is a not-for-profit subsidiary of Oil & Gas UK, set up in 1995 to provide data management services to its members and to the UK oil industry.

The CDA web portal is at

Oil & Gas UK is the leading representative organisation for the UK offshore oil and gas industry. Its members are companies licensed by the Government to explore for, and produce, oil and gas in UK waters and those in the industry’s supply chain.

10 Nov 2017
Launch of Petroleum Data Management MSc at the University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen formally launched its Petroleum Data Management MSc programme at an event held at the Sir Duncan Rice Library yesterday. Industry leaders, academics, and potential students gathered to hear about opportunities to increase business value through effective stewardship of data and CDA’s ongoing initiatives in professionalising data management, as well as details about the programme and content that will be taught.

The programme is being developed in partnership with CDA and funding sponsors Chevron, Shell, and Total, to address the industry need for skills in this disicpline. It will commence in September 2018, providing postgraduate education and  training for those currently in petroleum data management roles as well as those aspiring to this career path. Students can choose to study full-time or part-time, on campus or online.

Malcolm Fleming, Chief Executive, CDA, said:

“As an industry we are aware that the true value of data lies not in acquiring it but in using it effectively, across technical disciplines. It is therefore crucial that businesses are equipped with the skills and competencies to ensure these valuable data resources are professionally stewarded, accessible to users, and that they meet increasingly complex business needs and opportunities.

“CDA and its 58 member companies consider this Masters programme to be a significant element within initiatives to improve and increase the contribution of data management to business value, and are delighted to be offering two partial scholarships in 2018 to support individuals in attaining this qualification.”

Programme Director, Dr Colin North, said:

“Petroleum Data Management is crucial to the oil and gas industry and there is an increasing demand for individuals with an expertise in this area.

“I am delighted that the University has teamed up with CDA, and our sponsors, in order to create this programme. Developing it alongside industry partners ensures that the course will be tailored to the needs of the industry and I look forward to welcoming students onto the course.”

MSc Petroleum Data Management course details

08 Nov 2017
CDA and RGU Celebrate Inaugural Data Management Graduates

A successful partnership between CDA and the Robert Gordon University (RGU) has delivered the very first graduates in Petroleum Data Management. Fourteen students from across the globe, including Brazil, Ghana and the Netherlands, were awarded a Graduate Certificate in Petroleum Data Management from RGU at its summer graduation ceremony yesterday.

The course was developed to meet industry demand for practitioners skilled in managing the geological and geophysical data vital to the sector’s operations. Comprising four modules covering all aspects of the subsurface exploration and production lifecycle, the course supports CDA’s wider agenda for the professionalisation of data management, enabling geoscientists and engineers to deliver more timely decisions with greater accuracy.

CDA Chief Executive Malcolm Fleming, said:

“The value generated by exploration and production activities relies on accurate information, the key to which is a high quality of data management.

“Staff armed with the knowledge and competencies to drive the best value from data will play a key role in supporting critical business activities, decisions and ultimately successful operations.”

The course was designed with significant input from across industry, providing an entry point to a recognised discipline and career path. Applications are now open for the next student intake in September 2017, for which CDA is offering two fully funded scholarship places.

Jo Royle, Head of the School of Creative and Cultural Business, said:

“We have been delighted with the success of the first cohort of the Graduate Certificate Petroleum Data Management.  Feedback tells us that the course has been well received by students and employers.”

Kerry Blinston, Global Commercial Director, Data Management Services, CGG, said:

“As a global exploration and production data services and solutions provider, we welcome this new professional qualification that teaches the value of petroleum data management to upstream oil and gas businesses.

“Several members of our team have reported enjoying the course and appreciating its convenient online delivery that helps to balance work and study. We are already beginning to see how they benefit from the knowledge they have gained to better understand our customers’ needs and this can translate into real business value on all sides.

“We plan to encourage other team members to participate in the next iteration of this successful and beneficial course.”


Graduate Certificate Petroleum Data Management course details

2017/18 Scholarship details

13 Jul 2017
OGA Undeveloped Discoveries Data Packages now available

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has announced the release of a series of data packages, published in anticipation of the launch of the 30th Offshore Licensing Round.

The data packages, which encompass roughly 140 relinquished discoveries, include:

  • Released well and seismic data and documents
  • OGA / BGS well tops
  • Selected seismic images from CGG, PGS, and WesternGeco

Sixty technical montages will also be made available. All together, these provide industry with the discovery history, static and dynamic information and subsurface data in digital formats for use in interpretation software. The data packages may be downloaded for free or ordered on media (a media and handling charge applies) from CDA’s



19 Jun 2017
National Data Repository 2017 Conference

NDR 2017
Stavanger, Norway
6 – 8 June 2017

A global meeting focused on the challenges of managing national oil and gas data repositories, this will be the 13th conference bringing together government regulators and petroleum industry participants to exchange ideas and collaborate on business processes.

CDA is delighted to be part of the executive committee of this conference, supporting the development of the data management community and best practice.

Registration is open at:



13 Jan 2017
Proceedings now available – CDA & ECIM Joint Workshop on Digital Dividends from Subsurface Data

Over 70 delegates attended CDA and ECIM’s joint workshop on the application of modern data science and analytical techniques to sub-surface data, as demonstrated through CDA’s first Unstructured Data Challenge.

Delegates heard from nine challenge participants, each sharing the results of their work on the same 3.5Tb of sub-surface data made available to them (in confidence) over the summer of 2016.

The results were remarkable, beginning with insights into how to deal with the issues encountered in processing the many types and formats of data and documents acquired over 50 years of UKCS exploration activity, and moving on to show real examples of the value that can be unlocked once data and documents are analytics-ready.

Participants presented on a wide variety of data science techniques, including how machine learning can be used to address fundamental data management issues in a scalable manner, how linguistic analysis alone may be used to identify formation analogues, and how, if a number of these techniques are used together in concert, a prototype end-to-end workflow may be realised for the automated creation of petrophysical models.

Workshop proceedings are now available to download, while registered workshop delegates may download the slides for each presentation from the ECIM website.



For more information on the Unstructured Data Challenge, and the outcomes presented in this workshop, please contact Daniel Brown.


19 Dec 2016