Customer Success Stories
The scale of the operation is impressive. Alan Scott, core store manager at Iron Mountain, and himself a qualified geologist, comments: “I’d estimate that we store around 60 per cent of all the core samples ever taken from UK fields. We have nearly half-a-million boxes of rock samples and ground-up drill cuttings, plus thousands of boxes of reports and other data.”
To preserve integrity and minimise the handling complexity of samples, all boxes pertaining to the same core are stored together sequentially, rather than being filed randomly as is often the practice with documents. Each box contains typically six feet of core sample and Iron Mountain has developed specialist racking and handling equipment to aid easy transit of these heavy containers.
Iron Mountain also offers designated private areas to facilitate inspection and sampling, each featuring special benches and offering different lighting options (such as daylight and UV). Alan Scott adds: “Each year we host around 1,500 people, on 600 inspection days. That means laying out over 24 miles of rock samples.”
With many oil and gas companies located in and around Aberdeen, the specialist off-site storage service operated by Iron Mountain provides companies with easy and highly efficient local access to core samples and other vital geological data and helps enhance compliance with industry regulations.
“Our company conducts about 20 viewings each year and our samples are viewed by others a similar number of times,” confirms one oil company spokesperson. “The private inspection rooms are a fantastic facility and Iron Mountain makes them available to us at a very reasonable rate. Being able to view and take samples in Aberdeen is far more efficient for us as it avoids the need for our people to travel to the BGS national core store in Nottingham, where the facilities for inspection are often oversubscribed.”
Companies can also use the Iron Mountain inspection rooms to view and extract information from stored paper files. Not only does this facilitate easy access it reduces the cost and security risk of transportation.
Working with Iron Mountain has other benefits too. “Because Iron Mountain stores core samples for many players in the industry they know where samples reside,” says an oil company spokesperson, “even if they’re stored by a competitor. They also know who we need to contact at oil companies to gain permission to view and extract samples that are not owned by us. We see a lot of change in our industry, with people coming and going all the time, so that knowledge and those contacts are enormously valuable.”
Iron Mountain also offers a data transfer service for the industry. Many oil and gas companies have a wealth of data stored on obsolete media such as 51/4-inch floppy discs or 12-inch magnetic tapes and Iron Mountain has the capability to organise the transfer of this data onto modern day hard drives as required.
An oil and gas company spokesperson sums up: “Iron Mountain provides a fantastic service. Alan Scott and his colleagues are just so knowledgeable and helpful. They are always giving us guidance on best practice and the Iron Mountain facilities are great. They’ve never let us down and I can’t praise them enough.”