Digital Energy (DE) describes broad initiatives to improve asset performance and boost corporate value through operational excellence and engineering design. It has been described in many papers presented at SPE meetings such as Digital Energy in Houston and Intelligent Energy in Europe and the Middle East. Digital energy introduces new principles and information technology (IT) tools, frequently requiring new work processes, workforce adoption, and changes in behavior. One description of digital energy (Davidson and Lochmann 2011) includes:

  • Fully-integrated, multi-disciplinary operations

  • Task and process automation

  • Digitally-enabled technology

  • Business or operational intelligence

  • Innovative, efficient methods to maximize performance

The move from ‘good enough’ practices to operational excellence is a transformational change (evolving from one ‘look’ to another or one culture to another)and poses challenges and opportunities for organizations. Applying DE principles to promote operational excellence inevitably leads to new ways of working and unfortunately, organizational stress. Some of the challenges include aligning people, technology, and the organization to the new vision.

The first step in the digital energy process, regardless of a project’s size, should bean assessment of an organization’s current state including its level of understanding of DE, readiness to change, and what a digital energy initiative may contain. An assessment is a way to look into the world of DE and identify the functionality that may be best suited for a company’s operating environment and assess its impact on performance. Assessments have proven essential for success when organizations undertook major projects to improve asset performance and increase corporate value. Assessments often uncover unexpected paths to better performance.

The objective of an assessment is to identify and articulate the organization’s operational vision (different than broad IT or engineering objectives) and follow a structured approach to uncover and identify how DE initiatives can support and solidify the organization’s strategic objectives. During an assessment, information is gathered to identify and understand business drivers and goals while analyzing business priorities and developing value propositions. Through the evaluation and analysis of this information, a working solution roadmap is produced.

Because E&P organizations are largely unfamiliar with the practical aspects of DE, the assessment step is often undervalued and, in some cases, skipped altogether. This means suboptimal results, increased project risk, and diminished returns.

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