How Oil Companies use Business Intelligence to Maximize Profits{1}

by Brandon A
To maximize profits in today’s competitive market, the winner is not the company with the biggest store or most capital, but the company with the most up to date information. A great example of this is the oil companies. They have to know to up to date information to stay competitive and to maximize profits while minimizing risks. Weather conditions that might cause trouble for a rig or cause underground oil to expand, if a certain refinery is at capacity or if it can take in more barrels and if they are selling more oil in California then expected during the holiday rush. With Data Warehousing, these figures can be stored, processed and put into a usable form for the executives and scientists within the business so they can make informed decisions.

Without up to date information from data warehousing or business information, business’s risk losing money from lagged decisions and decisions based on old information. This will lower the efficiency of the executives and thus lower the profits made by the company.

A company that has been making good use of business intelligence systems is Valero. They don’t pump the raw oil from the earth, but work on the business end of oil, from refining to selling. They buy the oil when prices are low and then use their own refineries to process it and store it. They continually get updates on how much gas and oil based products they are selling throughout the day, make predictions of how much will continue to sale and ship out the product in real time.

A great example of a field that didn’t use data warehousing is the Real Estate field. Because of their lack of a central database and/or format usable to the average agent, they gave out loans to risky lenders, which in turn caused them to lose money.


Nash, S. Kim ( June 9, 2008). Gas Prices: How Oil Companies use Business Intelligence to Maximize Profits. CIO. Retrieved from