Guest Editorial: Putting the Power Into Empowerment To Drive Digitalization
- Matthias Heilmann (Baker Hughes)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 14 - 15
- 2018. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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It is time to put a common misconception to rest. The oil and gas industry is not lagging behind other industrial sectors in the race toward digitalization. We are leading the charge. This confidence is born from our status as one of the earliest adopters of digital technologies to efficiently transform complex reservoirs into revenues.
However, two things have happened since our industry first started adopting digital in its original form several decades ago. First, oil and gas businesses are experiencing new pressures from the downturn, which has placed increased focus on productivity and the navigation of diverse energy dynamics. Second, the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) or Digital 4.0 technologies have developed at an increasing rate, with the democratization of cloud computing and the advancements in data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning creating new opportunities beyond the consumer space. The resulting environment is one in which the oil and gas industry must consider the role these new digital technologies will play in navigating shifting industry dynamics.
While the industry is at a prime point, testing and beginning to put to work new digital ideas, the draw to return to age-old, tried and tested methods can be tempting. Unlike vehicle manufacturing, we are truly a process-driven industry where simulation, data measurement, and modeling are at the core of everything oil and gas does because everything is connected. We must move forward to adopt industrial IoT technologies that optimize across assets, processes, people, production, and the reservoir and wells by delivering answers in real time. Harnessing data that have been stranded will improve reliability, optimize production, and transform overall operations beyond what existing, siloed software solutions were able to deliver.
The value in data analytics at scale across an enterprise is visualization of historical and real-time performance across an entire business, from the reservoir and well to the refinery. Connecting digital across oil and gas businesses will be a key topic at the inaugural ENGenious conference and exhibition taking place in Aberdeen, 4–6 September 2018. Four key pillars of activity will be on the agenda: data analytics, automation and control systems, robotics, and smart communications. While the event will explore what innovation means for the onshore and offshore upstream oil and gas industry, it will embrace the learnings and experiences from a diverse range of industries. Using an ecosystem approach, this will create an enlightening forum to encourage cross-pollination of ideas and information exchange.
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