Five questions to ask potential oil and gas ERP vendors

In the oil and gas business, an ERP can make a huge competitive difference for an organization. With that in mind, here are a few things you should ask vendors before committing to a purchase.

1. How does this ERP fit my oil and gas business?

As you know, 'oil and gas' encompasses a wide variety of businesses.  The needs of a field producer are different from those of a refiner or a pipeline operator but you all classed as  ‘oil and gas’.  Do you produce fuel or petro chemicals or feed stocks?  You all are oil and gas too.  There are oil and gas ERP systems available that will fit your business.  Some are very specialized and others are more general-purpose.  Be sure to make your selection from appropriate ones.

2. How will this ERP give me a competitive advantage?

Oil and gas ERP systems will all record transactions and make them available for analysis.  You need those transactions but you also want to get ahead of other businesses in your sector.  This will be a requirement you list to evaluate ERP systems and vendors.  Do you want to keep up with Jones Petroleum or do you want to crush them in business?

Use this vendor directory to find oil and gas ERP software to suit your business requirements

3. How can I use this ERP to mitigate risk?

Risk is always in play in the oil and gas industries.  Spending money to build a pipeline from an oil field that turns out to be barren can drive a business to quick insolvency.  ERP can help track assets related to a project.  It also can track supply and demand related to that project and help provide you with the ability to recognize and measure your risk.

4. How can ERP help me meet my compliance requirements?

The tax people want to know how many barrels you produced last month.  The environmental folks want to know how many tons of smog came from your vents and stacks.  Your feed customers want to know the exact composition of the last trainload of compound you delivered.  ERP should track output.  ERP can also track the weight and volume that flows out vents.  ERP will remember the recipe in every batch of compound.  Whether the report is build in of designed through business intelligence, you will have all you need to report your compliance.

5. Will the financials help me with global and local financial reporting?

Oil and gas ERP will provide a great deal of flexibility in designing your chart of accounts and financial statements so that any requirement anywhere you do business can be easily and quickly met.  And when you open another operation in a new country or locality, simple add new account qualifiers to meet those local requirements.

Think about other needs you might have.  There will be at least one ERP that fits - but you need to ask the right questions to figure out which.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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