CASE STUDY: Oil & Gas Producer Cuts Costs and Gains Huge Competitive Advantage

oil & gas title search

One of the largest U.S. producers of oil and natural gas focuses on discovering and developing its large and geographically diverse resource base of energy assets. By using an Axis Technical Group document classification and data extraction solution, it was able to reduce the operational costs of capturing information from over a million documents related to the land acquisition or leasing of energy resource-rich properties. Before the implementation of Axis’s flagship document imaging solution, this Oil & Gas producer’s only option was slow, error-prone, hand-keying of the complex land and title documents.


Energy companies are always on the quest to research new sources of minerals, oil, and gas. Once an area with potential for these resources is identified, the companies must then acquire rights to operate on the land that is holding these valuable commodities.

Time is of the essence. The competition will also be interested in leasing the same parcels of land. The first company to contact the mineral owner has a huge advantage in securing the lease.

Knowing who owns the mineral rights, however, is not as easy as you would think. Researching who holds the legal rights to the minerals, surface, or both (ownership can very often be split) can be very challenging. There are public records on file, but they are generally not available online and require physical trips to the county courthouse to manually research ownership. The courthouses store the physical paper record books in vaults, and in many cases, these documents can go back over a hundred years.

Traditionally, energy companies would employ full-time researchers (Landmen) to visit a courthouse and spend days, if not weeks or months, scrutinizing thousands of documents to determine who has legal title to the mineral and surface rights. This tedious process is not only extremely time-consuming but also very expensive.

Business Challenge

As just explained, it is challenging to find the correct documents these companies need to review. Once discovered, the critical information needs transformation into actionable data. This data does not exist in a single document in a familiar form-like format. For example, the legal aspects of property (Legal description of the property, Grantor/Grantee, Lien, etc.) span an array of records including liens, court judgments, deeds, titles, and property maps to name just a few of the document types. It takes an expert to know what to read and where to find it.

Technology Problem

For the client, to make things worse, these documents are inconsistent in format, layout, and design, changing from county to county, state to state. Typical document imaging scanning solutions are designed for forms, using traditional OCR technology. This approach does not have the intelligence to read and decipher complex layouts. In many cases, the key fields, such as “property owner” could be embedded within a sentence anywhere on the page.

Before advanced scanning and data extraction systems, the only option available for this challenge was to hand key in information right from the documents. This also presented another set of difficulties. The keying operators need to understand the materials, but becoming a subject matter expert (SME) took considerable training. Hand-keying operations tend to have high employee turnover so keeping these SMEs on staff is not easy. Mistakes on data elements (wrong data or fields keyed) often occur due to human error and/or lack of training.

For this particular client, data entry errors and delays in document processing were not acceptable due to the competitive nature of the O&G industry. The manual-keying solution was not working and was about to result in losing a contract due to delays and poor data quality. A more cost-efficient, accurate solution was needed that could handle the huge volume of information that had to be processed.

The Solution

Knowing that Axis Technical Group offered an advanced document classification and data extraction solution designed for these complex, unstructured document formats, our partner suggested the client try this advanced, revolutionary solution. By applying a technology known as Natural Language Processing (NLP), the Axis software solution powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) could examine documents more like a human. NLP can recognize patterns, verbs, and nouns to literally understand the document’s context and content. This was performed in a very similar manner to how a person reads and finds critical information within a document.

The Axis document classification and data extraction solution utilizes NLP to first classify documents by looking for characteristics in the language of a record. Once the documents are classified, the software then captures the various required fields from the documents. In some cases, it could simply be a property owner’s name or street address, but in other instances, a complete property description was required. This property description could be a simple Lot, Block Section, Township, and Range, or a more complex Metes and Bounds description that can be whole sentences or paragraphs of information spanning one or more pages.

Using advanced optical character recognition, NLP, and machine learning, the system learns by example. As more documents are processed through the system, the extraction results increase in accuracy.

Within two weeks of the initial discussion, the system had been set up and configured. Sixty days into the engagement, the operation was in full production, processing around 130,000 documents per month. Upon completion of the project, over 1,000,000 documents had been handled – capturing tens of millions of critical index fields and data elements.


Axis provided a strategic solution to an extremely challenging document capture scenario. Not only did the solution work, but it saved the client considerable money – the entire operation came in at half the cost of the hand-keying operation. In addition to being more cost-effective, the quality was exceptionally reaching a 99.6% accuracy on index values. This exceeded the original service level agreements of the initial indexing provider.

Axis Technical Group saved the day for the partner who almost lost the contract. As the partner Director noted, “This was a game changer.” Now they are offering a new approach to capture solutions for the Oil & Gas industry. They can now provide a superior solution to traditional key-from-entry operations and do it at a lower cost. It offered the client a competitive advantage, and the partner could now recommend the same solution to customers in other areas outside of the original client’s market.

Learn more about the complexity of researching oil and gas industry leases here.