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Pan-industry strategy launched to drive digitalisation in Sultanate of Oman

Digital transformation: Cross-sector collaboration involving government, industry, academia, SMEs and ICT service providers
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Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the nation’s largest oil and gas producer, says it is leading a cross-sector effort to accelerate digitalisation across industry in the Sultanate of Oman.

The pan-industry strategy is a joint initiative of government entities and industrial organisations, according to Dr Rajaa al Kiyumi (pictured), IT Infrastructure Projects Delivery Lead at PDO.

Speaking at a ‘majlis’ organised recently by PDO on the theme, ‘Driving Digital Transformation in Oman: Opportunities and Challenges’, Dr Al Kiyumi said the initiative is driven by PDO and its Energy Renewal Unit in collaboration with the company’s Digitalisation Unit. It is also supported by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology (MTCIT).

The ‘majlis’ was held under the auspices of Dr Ali al Shidhani, Communications and Information Technology Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology.

“Accelerating digital strategies is one of the most viable responses to the industry’s many challenges,” said Dr Al Kiyumi. “Having digital transformation programmes is key to improving efficiency, driving productivity, and managing sustainability and low carbon agendas. For the industry as a whole to achieve digital leadership, requires vision, discipline and substantial changes to the existing operating models,” she stated.

According to the expert, the goal of the initiative – which was launched a few months ago -- is to develop a pan-industry digitalisation strategy that defines specific key focus areas and provides a clear implementation roadmap over a defined timeframe.

“By doing this, we aim to create a lot of great things, like promoting industry integration, for example,” she said. “We are also hoping to streamline efforts, break the siloes and share knowledge across all the different industries and thereby accelerate digital transformation across the entire industry.”

Part of the strategy is to identify and tap into existing capabilities in industry, academia and SMEs, explore R&D opportunities in the industry, and unlock in-country value (ICV) potential opportunity with a view to accelerating capability development, she explained.

Insights gleaned during the strategy development process will be shared with all of the participating stakeholders, including industry, local academia, start-ups, SMEs and ICT service providers, relevant government entities, and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI). The ultimate goal is to chart a roadmap, spanning a 5 – 10 year timeframe, specifying key focus areas and deliverables.

In her address, Dr Al Kiyumi held up the Oil & Gas industry as having made significance strides in digitalisation. Examples of digitalisation already achieved by the sector include: the use of blockchain to execute international transactions, deployment of drones for pipelines surveillance, stuck pipe & tight spot event prediction (STEP), AI-based production optimisation, and robotic process automation.

The sector is also weighing opportunities for, among other things, 3D printing of oil equipment and assets, digital twin of well models and stations, real time asset tracking, and analytics driven warehouse management, she added.

Significantly, the PDO-led initiative comes against the Omani government’s recent unveiling of a National Digital Economy Programme that seeks to spark the growth of national industries based on the digital economy, speed up the digital transformation in the public sector and upgrade the level of electronic services in the country.

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