The oil and gas (O&G) industry continues to reel under the pressure to find new ways to maintain profits in today’s turbulent market. Low oil prices and a production glut continue to squeeze margins, resulting in decimated earnings, massive job cuts, and even bankruptcies. Clearly, the O&G industry is ripe for reinvention.
Digital transformation built on investments in The Internet of Everything (IoE)—the networked connection of people, processes, data, and things—are revolutionizing how O&G firms compete in today’s connected world. Leading O&G firms are tapping into the power of IoE to harness new technologies such as analytics, robotics, sensors, and control systems—enabling dramatic improvements in operational efficiency.
Here are five factors shaping digital transformation in the O&G industry.
- Convergence of IT and operational technology (OT)—O&G environments usually consist of discrete automation systems, resulting in “siloed” data stores. Since sharing and consolidating data is the key to realizing the benefits of advanced analytics, bridging the gap between IT and OT is required. Removing silos improves interoperability, which helps decrease costs, increase business agility, and unleash IoE’s ability to deliver business and operational benefits throughout the O&G value chain.
- Data & Analytics—O&G firms are literally awash in data. Generated by sensors and machines across far-flung operations, the data is often unstructured, and lack integration across systems, people and process—undercutting its potential usefulness in real-time decision making. To effectively create actionable insights from the massive amounts of data being collected, O&G firms must automate data collection, ensure that real-time data is gathered at the point of capture, and that it is integrated across the business.
- Systems & Processes—By automating routine analysis and decision-support processes, operations can become more efficient, safer, and more profitable. With operational complexity minimized, efficiencies can also be gained through collaboration and sharing within the network of suppliers and customers. As IT/OT convergence gains ground, digital collaboration tools help unify data and reports from widely dispersed systems, streamline processes by reducing work that is manual or transactional, and accelerate real-time decision-making.
- Workforce engagement—Digital technologies enable a digital workforce, one that drives a seamless system that combines business process reengineering with IoE-enabled collaboration capabilities. Much of the work that needs to be done can be automated and streamlined without adding much complexity. Smart systems with predictive and self-learning capabilities can improve machine-to-machine collaboration. Workers with the right skill sets will need to manage these systems. The result? Better decisions, reduced downtime, improved productivity.
- Resource utilization—Digital technology applied to resource exploration and production include new and emerging applications such as:
- Embedded sensors on rig equipment can generate data that allows companies to make more informed decisions about whether or not to drill.
- Remote sensors and drones eliminate the need to physically monitor equipment. These generate more frequent and accurate data about assets, and improve productivity and safety through predictive maintenance.
- Autonomous robotic drilling has removed people from the drill floor, while robotic moving platforms are now being developed for shale wells.
- Unmanned marine vehicles called wave gliders monitor subsea conditions, traveling across oceans collecting data for up to a year without fuel or a crew.
In the era of IoE, digital transformation is spurring competitive differentiation in O&G. Companies who build sustainable digital capabilities will be tomorrow’s leaders. If your company needs assistance in the journey towards digital transformation, get in touch with 3S today.