Operational efficiency is the latest goal for the oil and gas industry. The sector is under immense pressure to become more efficient due to the continued fall of oil prices and subsequent tighter profit margins.
As the oil and gas sector continues to fluctuate economically, the operations have remained pretty much the same. This means that in order to achieve a better level of efficiency, industry members are going to have to take a step back and consider a completely new operations model. This is the only way to make a real difference to production performance.
It is believed that the solution to this conundrum lies with Digital – a term which includes the factors that make up the Internet of Things (IoT). These factors are data, machines and people and the confluence of these areas will have a positive effect on production efficiency. Indeed, the IoT will be able to boost throughput, improve field recovery and create better asset reliability.
It is clear that oil and gas leaders need to effect a fundamental change in how they operate and what kind of strategy they implement in order to really take advantage of digitisation. There are a number of trends being seen in the tech world, such as robotics and sensors, which can help improve field automation in a way that is pervasive.
From discussions with clients whose companies were successful in their drive for better operational efficiency through technology, we can see that they applied the following:
- Common Standards: When operational technology and information technology meet, it is vital that there is in place a set of shared standards. These standards must adhere to strict operational requirements but must still allow information to be shared across the company.
- Collaboration: In order to make sure the digitisation and integration of a company goes as smooth as possible it is essential to collaborate information. This means there must be multidisciplinary knowledge between information technology, data management, operational technology, cybersecurity and process design.
- Self Funding and Adaptability: By keeping an eye open for potential brownfield sites that could be used for projects companies are able to deploy digital technology. This increases the thrust of the organisation and prevents any hesitation when it comes to adopting new technologies.
- Security and Compliance: It is crucial that assets are protected, especially as we are now in an age where they are increasingly linked to the network. The digital infrastructure of a company must be closely monitored to protect it from cyber attacks. Threats must be taken seriously and any vulnerabilities must be addressed. There should be a general culture of security awareness within the company.
Oil and gas companies that revamp their operations to account for new technologies will stay ahead of the game. Much of what is being developed now in terms of technology is not only going to help oil and gas companies become more efficient, but it is going to completely change the game. This is the way oil and gas companies can become the winners of tomorrow.