FOR NOCS, IT’S TIME TO DIGI­TISE OR DIE

Qatar Today - - DEVELOPMENT -

While na­tional oil com­pa­nies (NOCs) in the re­gion have tra­di­tion­ally been slow in in­no­vat­ing, would the low oil prices con­vince them of the need to in­vest in new tech­nolo­gies? Dr Walid Fayad, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent at Booz Allen Hamil­ton MENA, gives us the low-down on how the O&G sec­tor is re­act­ing to this cri­sis.

In gen­eral, oil fields in the re­gion are still quite nascent with re­spect to dig­i­ti­za­tion. At this time, it is im­per­a­tive that com­pa­nies that have in­vested in the rel­e­vant in­fra­struc­ture also in­vest in the crit­i­cally im­por­tant an­a­lyt­ics and vi­su­al­iza­tion lay­ers to tie the data to­gether. For ex­am­ple, some com­pa­nies have al­ready in­stalled the lat­est me­ter­ing and well sur­veil­lance equip­ment. How­ever, this equip­ment needs to be cou­pled with strong an­a­lyt­ics on the back end to help pre­dict well fail­ure in or­der to avoid both di­rect costs in the form of costly down­time and in­di­rect costs due to sub­op­ti­mal work over rig util­i­sa­tion. Th­ese in­vest­ments can help NOCs turn their wealth of in­for­ma­tion into mean­ing­ful in­sights, re­duced costs, and in­creased cash flow.

So, what is needed now is not nec­es­sar­ily an in­vest­ment in new tech­nol­ogy, but rather op­ti­miz­ing on the in­vest­ments that have al­ready been made. With bud­get cuts be­ing felt in ev­ery sec­tor, NOCs can­not af­ford white ele­phants. At the same time, if they stop mak­ing tar­geted in­vest­ments, they risk fall­ing be­hind tech­no­log­i­cally. So we will see smarter in­vest­ments aimed at get­ting more from what is al­ready there. At any stage of tech­no­log­i­cal ma­tu­rity, a rel­a­tively in­cre­men­tal in­vest­ment in an­a­lyt­ics can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove the sta­tus quo. For ex­am­ple, the ma­jor­ity of wells be­ing drilled to­day are col­lect­ing real-time drilling me­chan­ics data (torque, weight on bit, ro­ta­tion, etc.) When prop­erly ag­gre­gated and an­a­lyzed, this data can be used to greatly im­prove drilling speeds and re­duce loss time in­ci­dents (e.g., stuck pipe, down­hole tool fail­ure, and for­ma­tion dam­age).

Once the data is in­te­grated, ef­fec­tively an­a­lyzed and pre­sented in a mean­ing­ful way, there are ben­e­fits across the value chain, from ex­plo­ration to trans­porta­tion and ex­port. Most rel­e­vant for re­gional NOCs, how­ever, are the ar­eas of: Drilling Op­ti­miza­tion, Pro­duc­tion Op­ti­miza­tion (in­clud­ing reser­voir mod­el­ing and man­age­ment), and Ex­ec­u­tive Dash­boards that can help de­ci­sion mak­ers bet­ter link the busi­ness with the real­i­ties in the field. Ex­ec­u­tive Dash­boards, while con­cep­tu­ally not new, are ad­vanced plat­forms that have the abil­ity to give se­nior de­ci­sion mak­ers un­par­al­leled in­sights. It is now pos­si­ble to in­te­grate the pro­duc­tion data of ev­ery well in a port­fo­lio, the capex projects, and the reser­voir mod­els to bet­ter un­der­stand the im­pacts of var­i­ous de­ci­sions on the com­pany's op­er­a­tions and busi­ness out­look. All this can be done on a sin­gle, easy-to-use dash­board, bring­ing the whole com­pany to a CEO's iPad.

Many oil com­pa­nies have in­vested in the needed tech­nol­ogy. To max­i­mize the ben­e­fits of dig­i­tal oil fields, se­nior man­age­ment must work to over­come the in­sti­tu­tional bar­ri­ers that keep the data locked away and pre­vent it from be­com­ing use­ful in­for­ma­tion. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that to do any of this, se­cu­rity is paramount. Specif­i­cally, it will be im­por­tant to se­cure both the Op­er­a­tion and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy en­vi­ron­ments. This means en­sur­ing that best prac­tices are be­ing im­ple­mented at ev­ery stage of a project life­cy­cle, from de­sign to op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance.

DR WALID FAYAD Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Booz Allen Hamil­ton MENA

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