The opportunities are in the details


Vast volumes of data from the petroleum industry are stored deep inside a mountain in Rogaland. Data that, when interpreted correctly, will better equip the companies in their search for more oil and gas. Photo: Emile Ashley.

09/12/2022 All fields on the Norwegian continental shelf have their unique characteristics.

Digitalisation is upon us; all day, every day. It has been described as a watershed moment rivalling that of the industrial revolution. At the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, it all started just as it did in the cradle of Olympic sports; with a Discus/Diskos.

In short, Diskos is Norway’s national data repository for petroleum data from formations under the seabed along our coast – the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. All data reported to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) is uploaded to Diskos.

The Diskos Partnership currently consists of 33 members and 45 associated members.

Diskos was established in 1995 and is the story of how the authorities, suppliers and companies on the Norwegian shelf have succeeded in creating a highly useful database solution for the industry, and thereby built a culture of cooperation to administer the data. The competition consists in how the data are interpreted and used.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's 50th anniversary

All fields on the Norwegian continental shelf have their unique characteristics.

Many sleepless nights and plenty of hard work from a broad range of players have gone into developing Norwegian oil and gas fields into what they are today, with high regularity in production – and extended lifetimes for many fields.

Over the last 50 years, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has played an important role – or supporting role – in the development of many fields – as well as in the management of data from the shelf. In this series of articles, we'll be telling a few of these stories.


Understanding the subsurface

Value creation from data in Diskos takes place through a better understanding of the geology in the subsurface and how this affects infrastructure and area developments on the Norwegian shelf.

Today, 33 members and 45 associated members cooperate on Diskos. The database is currently operated by a third-party supplier, but is administered by the authorities. The NPD has legal responsibility and manages Diskos.

Next year, we will be launching Diskos version 2.0. Seamless access to high-quality data will facilitate better use of data in analysis work and stimulate the development of technology and new work methods. The aim is to accommodate the opportunities found in data analysis and machine learning.

The actual data are stored in the Green Mountain data centre on Rennesøy island in Rogaland. Diskos currently contains a total of more than 13 petabytes of data. This represents almost exponential growth since 2014 when Diskos "only" held 1 petabyte of data.

A petabyte is a lot!

13 petabytes is a vast amount of data. A petabyte is the same as a billiard (or quadrillion) bytes; 1000⁵ or 10¹⁵.

A petabyte is a larger number than most of us can imagine, which is why we asked a mathematician to explain. Here is the answer:

If you printed out all this information with fairly tight spacing on both sides of standard A4 printer paper, you can get about four kilobytes (kB) on each sheet. You would need 250 billion sheets for each petabyte. With 13 petabytes, and where each sheet is 0.1 millimetre thick, this would be a stack 325,000 kilometres tall. In comparison, the average distance from Earth to the moon is about 384,400 kilometres.

Updated: 12/12/2022

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