Digitalisation is top priority for oil and gas decision-makers

While digital transformation has been on the oil and gas radar for some time, harnessing the power of new technologies is now the number one priority for the industry’s most senior decision-makers as they plot a path forward for their business.
The International Energy Agency has estimated digital technologies could cut oil and gas production costs by between 10 and 20 per cent, but industry trials suggest bigger results are achievable. Chief Executive Officer of BP, Bob Dudley, told the Financial Times a pilot project to apply data analytics to some of its wells has resulted in a 20 per cent production increase. The BP Technology Outlook 2018 predicts the application of digital tools, such as sensors or Internet of things (IoT), supercomputing, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, all supported by cloud technology, could reduce primary energy demand and energy system costs by 20-30 per cent by 2050.
Responding to the high importance being placed on digital transformation and disruption, the world’s leading oil and gas event, the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) has introduced an all-new Digitalisation Zone for its 2018 edition. The new exhibition space, supported by tutorials and conference sessions, is designed to help the oil and gas industry understand how digitalisation can transform the performance of their assets.
“What we observe is that while executives might name one area as most affected by digitalisation, they also tell us that every aspect of oil and gas operations will see some degree of change,” said Jean-Philippe Cossé, Vice-President of DMG Events, which organises ADIPEC.
“In addition, all these digital technologies are interlinked and interdependent. For example, as smart sensors collect more and more data, this data requires additional storage capacity, extra processing power, as well as advanced analytics solutions, and, of course, all this must also have security in mind. Digitalisation is fundamental, transformational, and is a number one priority for the most senior oil and gas industry decision makers, as they plan future investments.”
Change will be felt across the full oil and gas value chain. For upstream production, digital initiatives have significantly increased production, improved well construction outcomes, cut operational costs, reduced non-productive time and decreased capital project completion time. In downstream industries — such as refineries — maintenance and reliability, production planning and scheduling, production execution, as well as health, safety and environment (HSE) are the areas that will experience the most positive impact. Between the two, the midstream sector is reducing repair and maintenance costs, including the deployment of 3D printing technologies, while sensors (IoT), drones and robotics can help improve pipeline inspection and prevent leakages.