CPDA™ Spotlight

The CPDA™ Spotlight was created by the Energy Data Management Certification Committee (EDMCC) to recognize the amazing achievements of our Certified Petroleum Data Analysts. Celebrating their projects, presentations, papers and professional leadership strengths. CPDAs nominate themselves, or be nominated by a member of the community, to be featured.

Are you, or you do you know of, a CPDA™ who has been up to something interesting in their role as a certified professional petroleum data analyst? Let us know by submitting a nomination!


Terence (Terry) Broughton
Terence (Terry) Broughton is a CPDA with more than 20 years’ experience in petroleum data management. He is an independent contractor and president of TB Data Solutions Inc.

Throughout his career, Terence has navigated across a diverse sector of the industry, contributing expertise and acumen to advance our industry’s data management practices. From business analysis, exploration, reserve evaluation, energy marketing, and implementing the PPDM Association Data Model, Terry has covered it all!

He is also a member of the Petroleum Data Management Certification Committee (PDMCC), tasked with the overall governance of the CPDA credentialed program. As a CPDA, Terry brings an invaluable inside view of the type of support needed for future and current CPDAs.






Q&A

  1. Tell us about your data management professional journey. What did you aspire to be when you started your career?
    I began my career as a processing geophysicist for 9 years. Then progressed to geophysical programming and then became a well database manager and then a data analyst. Today, I serve as a data custodian for several applications and databases for a major oil and gas company.
  2. Tell us why taking the CPDA™ exam became a priority.
    As an independent contractor, I wanted to make myself more marketable in the data management and data analysis profession.
  3. What tangible and intangible benefits have you gained from being a CPDA™?
    The most tangible benefit I have experienced is that throughout the volatile times in our industry I have been retained on my contracts where others have not. A somewhat more intangible benefit is that I have gained a high level of credibility with my geo-technical piers (the data owners). They see me as someone who understands their data and their data needs.
  4. You are an active volunteering member of the PPDM Association. Tell us how serving on a committee has elevated your level of knowledge in the data management profession.
    E & P data is very diverse, and our committee is a very diverse representation of our industry. Each of us brings a different perspective to the table. This is also evident with the CPDA candidates we see apply for certification. Regardless, the data management principles remain the same.
  5. If you could be the CEO for a day in an E&P company, what advice you would communicate to your leadership about data management?
    Data management begins in the C-suite with complete buy-in from everyone to commit to developing and implementing data management processes and procedures., compliant with a data governance framework that serves the organization.

Spotlight 2023

Carmen Prado

Carmen Prado is a Computer Science Engineer with 25+ years of experience on Data Management for the E&P industry, involved in Data Management Consulting and Application support activities with several clients at different geographical locations such as Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Throughout this period, she has provided technical support and consulting services on the deployment of Data Management solutions using different SLB software.

Carmen is a member of the PPDM association and acquired her Certification of Petroleum Data Analyst (CPDA™) in May 2017.



Q&A

  1. Tell us about your data management professional journey. What did you aspire to be when you started your career?
    I can say my data management journey started right after I got my computer science degree in Venezuela; I joined a local service company that was working in the development of a Data Management system for the National oil company, thanks to that work experience my knowledge and expertise in the management of the E&P data began and has continued growing since then. I started to focus my interest on the implementation of data quality procedures including data clean-up and organization. For me always has been a priority the accuracy, validity, and completeness of the data. We must be able to trust in the data because this is very decisive on the success of any project specially in the E&P industry.
  2. Tell us why taking the CPDA exam became a priority.
    I wanted to demonstrate to myself, as well as my colleagues inside and outside the company, my level of knowledge and expertise in the management of the E&P data. I started to research what certification was the most suitable for my position and experience and the CPDA was the perfect for me, considering also that PPDM has always been an important reference during my +25 years of journey as a Data Management consultant for the Oil & Gas industry. I got my certification in my fist attempt back in 2017, since then I am a proud Certified Petroleum Data Analyst.
  3. What tangible and intangible benefits have you gained from being a CPDA?
    The most important benefit is the industry recognition because this is a certification acknowledge by the Oil & Gas industry worldwide. Also, it has been an excellent personal benefit; be a CPDA has given me the opportunity to meet great people and it has been an excellent stimulus to participate in events that have allowed me to gain more knowledge and expertise in the data management domain, as well as the benefit to keep me informed about the big technology changes influencing our discipline.
  4. You are an active volunteering member of the PPDM Association. Tell us how serving on a committee has elevated your level of knowledge in the data management profession.
    Volunteering on PPDM, particularly in the Certification committee, has been a great experience for me; it has helped me to increase my professional networking and share time and knowledge with excellent professionals and colleagues. I have learned a lot about communication skills, procedures and technology and be up to date with industry advancements in the Data domain. Furthermore, volunteering has also allowed me to share my data management knowledge and expertise with others; it has been a win-to-win experience.
  5. If you could be the CEO for a day in an E&P company, what advice you would communicate to your leadership about data management?
    Data is one of the most valuable assets a company can have hence my team should establish a robust data governance framework is a priority; this should clearly outline the roles, responsibilities, and processes for managing data across the organization and guarantee the quality of the data, its security and compliance with relevant regulations. I would also encourage the deployment of a feedback procedure to collect information that allow us to evaluate and improve our data management processes, including a consistently assessment about the efficacy of our data practices. Finally, keeping alert of new changes in the industry and the necessity to adopt new technologies.

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Spotlight 2022

Alex Ross

Alex Ross is a data & information savvy geoscientist who closes the gap between the business and IT. Building on degrees in Geology & Sedimentology from London University, his early career saw him implementing geological workstations in Shell UK. This was followed by 19 years in Schlumberger Information Solutions in a variety of roles including geoscience software technical support, marketing, sales and operations management. For the past number of years Alex has provided specialist oil & gas data and information consultancy services to Santos, Beach Energy, Origin Energy, SA Department of Energy and Mines and SRA IT in the UK, USA and Australia. Branching out into the mining industry has revealed many similarities in geoscience data & information business needs. Based in Adelaide, his leisure time is spent cycling and researching the links between geology & wine.

Alex is a member and Certified Petroleum Data Analyst (CPDA™) of the PPDM Association, where he is also co-chair of the Energy Data Management Certification Committee, Alex works tirelessly to advance our professional discipline.



Q&A

  1. Tell us about your data management professional journey. What did you aspire to be when you started your career?
    I describe my career journey as a happy accident. After graduating from London University with a geology honours degree, I wanted to join Shell UK at a time when a PhD was required to be an oil company geologist. Fortunately, Shell was recruiting IT graduates and I was placed in the exploration department providing geotechnical data and applications support. From there I had an amazing time focussing on applications and data at Schlumberger for many years - working and living in some amazing parts of the world. The majority of my more recent career is as a consultant specialising in delivering improved data insights to energy and resource companies. It continues to be a lot of fun. I’m fortunate to really enjoy my job and work with some awesome people.
  2. Tell us why taking the CPDA exam became a priority.
    Short answer – Trudy ever so nicely twisted my arm at the 2015 PPDM Brisbane conference! CPDA™ had just started - I had a look at the benefits and it was clear it was a key differentiator in a competitive job market. I’m proud of being the first CPDA in Australia.
  3. What tangible and intangible benefits have you gained from being a CPDA?
    Great satisfaction in helping others in their data career journey.

    Working with a great group of people at PPDM, in the broader CPDA™ community and on the CPDA™ committee.

    I’m delighted to say that shortly after achieving my CPDA™ I was successful in securing a new job – with the caveat that correlation isn’t always causation – but the optimist in me says it was!
  4. You are an active volunteering member of the PPDM Association. Tell us how serving on a committee has elevated your level of knowledge in the data management profession.
    My passion for the benefits of CPDA™ continued as I was invited to be on the CPDA™ committee, and then became co-chair. It’s a wonderful way to network both internationally and within Australia. It’s not only what you know, it’s who you know! It also keeps me up to date with industry advancements.
  5. If you could be the CEO for a day in an E&P company, what advice you would communicate to your leadership about data management?
    Data is an extremely valuable asset. Oil & gas companies are basically data companies who choose to explore for and produce hydrocarbons. The value of a company primarily comes from three factors.
    • Knowing the quality, completeness and timeliness of its data. It's never all going to be perfect but knowing allows a weighting to be applied to decisions made from it.
    • The applicability of the technology the company uses to analyse and make decisions on the data.
    • The skills and experience of the people who analyse the data.
    Data is much too often an underappreciated and underutilised asset. If stock markets allowed oil & gas companies to define data as an asset, budgets to leverage more value from it would dramatically increase.

    Improving data quality, completeness and timeliness is commonly “somebodies else’s problem” and that’s a challenge to overcome. For me this graphic sums it up.



    Oh yes and hire more CPDAs!

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Spotlight 2021

Oliver (Olly) Thistleton

Olly Thistleton began learning the discipline 20 years ago on service desk teams for Venture’s various London-based clients, and now holds the position of Consulting Lead with Sword Venture’s Asia-Pacific Business Unit. He achieved his CPDA with Distinction credential in 2017.



Q&A

  1. Tell us about your data management professional journey. What did you aspire to be when you started your career?
    It's probably different now data science is the cool profession everyone wants to do, but when I was young, careers fairs didn't have a data booth! I was interested in earth sciences, so my education headed down the rock licking route of becoming a geologist. I'd always enjoyed technology though, so when an opportunity came to work at an oil & gas data management consultancy, it combined both my interests, so I jumped on it, and I've never looked back.
  2. Tell us why taking the CPDA exam became a priority.
    To be honest, it became a priority for me as I wanted to evaluate it for my team. There are lots of training courses and certifications in aspects of what makes a great petroleum data manager – geoscience, engineering, software, IT, behavioural skills, etc. There’s even a few in data management, albeit industry-agnostic. What’s as rare as hen’s teeth is something that ties all these aspects together. As soon as I heard about the CPDA, I signed up to take it and assess whether it was something my team of fellow petroleum data managers should be taking as part of their learning plans. And the outcome of my assessment… well there’s three more Distinction-level CPDAs out there… so far!
  3. What tangible and intangible benefits have you gained from being a CPDA?
    The first tangible benefit, therefore, has been my ability to recommend it to my company and to other data managers as a valuable career development target. It wasn’t all about others though. As a data manager you’re always growing your skills, but some have certainly atrophied over time. Revision for the CPDA helped me refresh my knowledge in a broad range of subjects. Since obtaining my CPDA, whilst it’s not been an explicit requirement or preference so far (something I’d like to see change), it’s certainly been valuable with new clients in putting evidential weight from an industry recognised organisation that this person knows what they’re talking about!
  4. You are an active volunteering member of the PPDM Association. Tell us how serving on a committee has elevated your level of knowledge in the data management profession.
    Twenty years after starting in this discipline, it really frustrates me that I still regularly meet fellow data managers who struggle communicate their value to their employers. With the squeeze on the petroleum industry in recent years, this has become even more critical for those competing for fewer jobs, or for those trying to quantify their skills to an employer in an another industry. I see my involvement with the professional development division of PPDM as a responsibility to our discipline to improve this situation. Something I believe we are making progress on. It doesn’t hurt that I’m working with a great group of people from around the globe. They all bring different viewpoints on the same goal, meaning I’m always keeping an open mind and learning new things.
  5. If you could be the CEO for a day in an E&P company, what advice you would communicate to your leadership about data management?
    Most E&P companies are on a digitalisation journey and trying to become more data-driven in their business decisions. This has been beneficial in putting a focus on data and the need to make it work harder. Sadly however, there persists a view that buying the latest technology or putting data into the cloud will somehow make it better. I would encourage leadership to invest in a more balanced way. Technology enablers are important, but if data is not managed properly through appropriate processes by skilled people (such as CPDA-certified petroleum data managers), those business decisions are going to be data-driven in the wrong direction.

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