What I have seen in my years in the oil and gas industry is an inward-looking culture. If something hasn’t been done previously in the industry, people don’t even want to talk about it. But oil price volatility has been a wake-up call.
Faced with low hydrocarbon prices, offshore oil and gas operators and contractors are showing increasing interest in what Big Data can do – and at a higher level, what the digital revolution can do, including analytics and mobile technology. Large volumes of data are being generated at multiple sources, including surface structures, subsea installations, wells, maintenance and finance systems, and the industry is beginning to ask what can be done differently and what is being done in other industries.
Without question, Big Data will transform oil and gas operations. It enables greater flexibility and adaptability. It facilitates better, faster decision-making and can boost business efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, profitability. Such benefits become more important in an era of low oil prices, high costs and greater regulatory focus on health, safety and environment.
Maintenance, for example, is an area where Big Data could deliver benefits - fast. By shifting to a digitally predictive maintenance approach, operators can predict equipment failure and intervene sooner to prevent unplanned production losses. This can revolutionize maintenance.
“Digital Turnarounds” are another good example. For a multinational mining corporation, Accenture enabled a $170 million, 65 day smelter turnaround that made more than 2,000 contractors safer, more effective and more efficient. Accenture’s wireless tracking solution combined with the Accenture Analytics platform provided visibility to drive value across vendor management, productivity and worker safety.
There is a potential opportunity for operators in the UK continental shelf. By harnessing the power of digital, North Sea operators and service companies can reduce costs and improve efficiencies and gain a competitive advantage in the industry. The fact that the oil and gas industry has lagged behind other industries in adopting digital is paradoxically an opportunity: the UK would be at the forefront of the global industry, exporting efficient and digitally smart oil and gas operations services and practices. Read more about how Big Data can transform oil and gas operations.