Bits, Bytes and Barrels – A Review

Through Booktasters I was able to read Bits, Bytes and Barrels, in exchange for an honest review. The book was available to read via Audible so this time I was able to walk, run and do other things whilst listening to the book. I listened to it from start to finish despite this being the type of book that people may skim, or read part of rather than the full text.

This type of book is written in such a way that you can read the chapters that interest you, or the book in its entirety, but if you read it from cover to cover there will be some repetition. I read it from cover to cover, over a relatively short period of time because I had to provide an honest review.

I do not know much about the oil industry. I know that they have oil rigs, trucks, petrol stations, refineries and more, and that they make billions or even trillions of dollars. What I didn’t know, or at least didn’t think about, is that they had some of the first data centres in the 90s. They collected data from oil wells, from oil exploration and more, and then they got experts to go through that data to decipher where to place operations.

Something that seemed alien to me, as a person reading this in 2021 is of the idea of data as a cost, rather than wealth. It’s interesting that it took some convincing to get oil exploration to take advantage of artificial intelligence in order to speed up and increase oil exploration accuracy.

The book explores interesting ideas, and provides context for an industry that we often see in the news, but mainly when things go wrong, without understanding much of what goes on behind the scenes. This book provides a window into that world.


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