The last year has resulted in fluctuated global oil prices, but they still remain above the lows felt in the previous few years. Even with pricing, below the 2018 highs, the sector is still experiencing a rise in tendering activity. However, in a market still weighed down by stacked rigs and day rates that are low by historical standards, nobody in the offshore drilling industry can afford to assume that the boom times are back.

As market conditions improve, the traditional levels of operational performance won’t be enough to win back business lost during the downturn. Put simply, drilling contractors must significantly raise their game to compete.

The only way to deliver scale required is through technology—powered initiatives that boost performance and competitiveness. Accenture’s proven framework for achieving this is Industry X—a new path to digitally transform industrial businesses through smart, connected and living technologies. This includes analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

In the offshore oil & gas industry, our experience shows that Industry X presents major opportunities:

  • First, asset reliability and uptime. New technologies can dramatically increase asset uptime by enabling companies to create and confirm functional block diagrams and hierarchies in the asset register, and undertake asset walk—downs flexibly and responsively as needed. They also enable clear identification of critical systems and components, and of the failure modes of critical assets.

    At the same time, companies can leverage IoT data from a wide array of sensors and sources—condition monitoring, inspections, work management, production information and more—to undertake “failure prediction” and monitor “remaining useful life” with higher reliability than has ever been achievable in the past.

    The analytics design to deliver all of this is based on “multi-agent modelling” techniques akin to digital twin. This allows for the rapid transfer of the analytical assets across customers, operating locations & conditions, and asset technology. Companies can capitalize on the resulting analytical insights to progress from time—based maintenance planning to predictive maintenance practices, and recommend new maintenance strategies and tactics across asset and component classes.

  • The second functional area that can be transformed through Industry X is worker safety and productivity. Remote, technology—enabled monitoring of workers and use of video analytics can proactively detect risks to their safety based on proximity to moving or rotating equipment, and help to avoid hazardous working conditions.

    Companies can also leverage mobile technologies to provide workers with electronic access to work instructions, technical documentation and historical data through devices including augmented reality (AR) headsets, improving the quality and productivity of their work. Electronic records can also be used to undertake root cause analysis of any issues and drive continuous improvement in work execution both within operating units and across entire sites.

  • Lastly, supply chain efficiency. Running advanced analytics on structured and unstructured data allow companies to identify relevant patterns and predict future demand for maintenance, repair & overhaul (MRO). Companies can also integrate their systems and data securely with customers, suppliers and other partners, leveraging technology to exchange information for two—way collaboration.

    Further opportunities with Industry X technologies include analyzing and adjusting inventory parameters on a continuous basis to optimise safety and buffer stocks in a multi—stage supply network. Companies can also balance demand and supply constraints proactively, taking into account possible business scenarios and their impact on profitability, while monitoring supply chain risks to improve the ability to cope with disruptive events. And across all the supply chain functions, integrating the data visibility, analytics and execution layer as a platform can improve flexibility and responsiveness throughout.

As offshore drilling contractors prepare for the upturn, they must ask themselves a key question: Are their operational system and processes fit for purpose—and can they deliver the levels of productivity and performance needed for success in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace? If they haven’t yet embraced new technologies throughout their operations, the answer is almost certainly no.

The message is clear. It’s time to tap into the full power of today’s operational technology. Because even if you don’t, you can be sure your competitors will.

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Michael Holzer


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