During the last 5 to 6 years, the utilization of real-time operations centers has gradually expanded to comprise a wide range of remote services traditionally handled at the rigsite. Some oil and gas operators have reduced the footprint for new and mature fields, which has driven the need to re-engineer the traditional work processes carried out at the rigsite. Another driver is the reduced availability of competent personnel. Over time, several functions have changed and merged into one common operation. In addition, multiple functions have been relocated from the rigsite to centrally located operations centers where the "digital part" of the jobs is now performed. Field personnel have undertaken in-depth cross training to perform new, more hands-on functions, and senior personnel have undertaken key functions in the real-time operations centers. The new remote operations approach, transforming several traditional rigsite positions, requires changes in the individual's thought and skill set. Oil and service companies, therefore, are developing and adopting new remote operations strategies for the workforce to meet the ever-increasing demand for efficiency and automation. The underlying challenge is the availability of younger competent personnel in an industry that will soon experience a workforce demographic age gap, as the aging workforce retires over the next decade. The remote operations initiative enables retention of highly competent senior personnel in the operations centers, providing knowledge transfer, cross-discipline training and efficient and effective operational advice to the workforce in the field as well as to the client.
The paper presents the evolution of remote operations over a decade with examples and effects, and discusses how remote operations centers, driven by new digital technologies and work processes, will influence the industry in the future.