Cracking the code: 2017 digital refining survey

New digital technologies are currently not a top investment priority for refiners. However, operational cost reduction will drive an increase in digital spending.

After years of investing in core digital automation and control technologies, refiners have shifted investment priorities to other areas such as maintenance. However, as technology costs decline and mobile and internet of things (IoT) solutions become more viable, refiners must move beyond simply piloting new digital technologies into deployment at scale to see the benefits of digital.

A digital enablement plan, with a digital vision embedded in the business strategy, will allow refiners not only to realize a reduction in operating costs via accelerated and broader operational efficiencies, but also to achieve the fundamental transformation in their business that these technologies can bring.

Explore the five key trends

Trend 1: Digital technologies are disrupting investment

19% recognize digital as a top 3 priority. This is set to change. 57% said that their current level of investment was more or significantly more than 12 months ago.

Trend 2: Analytics #1 for performance, then security

Analytics/big data is viewed as the number one digital technology that will impact performance. It will be deployed with increased regard to cybersecurity.

Trend 3: National oil companies the most digitally mature

Most refiners (89%) consider themselves still digitally immature. National Oil Companies, however, ranked significantly higher, with 1 in 5 indicating digital maturity.

Trend 4: Digital becomes a ‘must have’

As competition grows, refiners are looking to the benefits of digital technology, acknowledging that it will enable them to adapt and re-implement more quickly.

Trend 5: Realizing benefits of digital is unclear

Refiners see clear benefits from digital but need strategies to follow them through. This indicates that creating value from digital remains a challenge.

The journey to the connected refinery

Getting serious about digital

Digital requires senior executive leadership and vision, underpinned by proof of concepts that quickly lead to scaled programs focused on maximizing return on investment.

Success in digital requires culture change

Companies need to drive a culture of innovation and technology adoption — a parallel focus on OT & IT.

Focus on talent and skills

Investment in human capital and development programs are needed to promote new, digital thinking and new ways of working.

Manage your digital ecosystem

A methodical approach for developing and/or industrializing the digital foundation is needed, including managing the broader ecosystem of digital partners.

Plan for transformation

A comprehensive digital enablement plan should be built into business strategy to lead to digital transformation.

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About the survey

This Accenture Digital Refining Research was conducted in March 2017 by PennEnergy Research in partnership with the Oil & Gas Journal on behalf of Accenture in collaboration with Solomon Associates. The research surveyed over 200 refining oil and gas professionals including engineers, mid-level and executive management, business unit heads and staff and project managers.

Tracey Countryman

Senior Managing Director – Industry X, Digital Manufacturing & Operations, Global Lead


Digital re-definery
The intelligent refinery

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