Why don’t we use open source software development techniques in the energy industry? There’s an easy answer to that, of course. The current structure of competition is so heavily biased towards zero-sum game conceptions, between companies and between the corporate sector and host governments, that it would be hard to make happen. Ghana, or Yemen, or the UK come to that, wants to sell a data package to oil companies bidding for exploration licenses. They want to keep the results of their processing and analysis of that data as a competitive edge. Doh!
This has been bugging me for some time, being both an oil and open source geek. But it was given fresh edge yesterday while reading Daniel Yergin’s new Quest (of which one can only really say “masterful”), where he described the breakthrough of Petrobras in deep offshore Brazil. Continue reading →