Historically, AFEs have been thought of as a piece of paper circulated as a formality to allow executives to approve or reject, based on their merits and available budget. Early AFE workflows centered on moving a folder or packet of papers around the company. A common occurrence was the walk around the office looking for a lost or stuck AFE. Many times, AFEs are found at one desk creating the dreaded bottleneck. The introduction of spreadsheets added some efficiency but didn’t stop these bottlenecks.
Early AFE systems, like AFE Navigator, concentrated on improving efficiencies, allowing AFEs to move faster. Adding integration to accounting and well management systems removed double data entry. Advanced reporting created visibility to find and eliminate bottlenecks. Now, with the introduction of unconventional resources, these efficiencies are a way to add value. Operators need to be able to continually add efficiency to be competitive. The efficiency in spending capital is vital. Oil and Gas companies are currently looking at more efficiency using mobile platforms.
AFEs, however, have grown to be much more than an approval document. With the increasing importance SOX compliance, business rules around AFEs and the entire capital process become paramount. These systems have to transform beyond easy and efficient approval systems to systems of record with configurable, auditable business rules. Is the right process being followed? Have we created all the necessary supplements in a timely manner? If we are audited can we show the capital approval process is properly controlled? All important questions in modern AFE systems.