Em­brac­ing the dra­matic dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - ENERGY -

Change is ac­cel­er­at­ing all around us: in pol­i­tics, in so­ci­ety, and through­out our ev­ery­day lives. We are on the cusp of one of the most dra­matic, tech­nol­ogy-led rev­o­lu­tions the world has ever seen. A dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion that is fun­da­men­tally chang­ing the way we live, work and in­ter­act. How we re­spond as in­di­vid­u­als, busi­nesses, cities and na­tions will de­ter­mine how well placed we are to suc­ceed in this new in­ter­con­nected world.

Ro­bot­ics, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, nan­otech­nol­ogy, 3D print­ing, the In­ter­net of Things, au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles, en­ergy stor­age and per­sonal health mon­i­tor­ing are just some of the ar­eas where this rev­o­lu­tion is evolv­ing at a rapid pace. This dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is al­ready dis­rupt­ing al­most ev­ery in­dus­trial sec­tor, turn­ing con­ven­tion on its head, cre­at­ing new mar­kets and bound­less new op­por­tu­ni­ties.

So, what does all this mean for the oil and gas in­dus­try?

This is the ques­tion I’m asked on a daily ba­sis. And it’s one where we are still work­ing on the an­swers. But I do know that it presents us with many op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The first thing I’d say is that to date our in­dus­try has been in­su­lar when it comes to adopt­ing new tech­nolo­gies. De­spite decades of in­no­va­tion and en­gi­neer­ing firsts from the in­cep­tion of the North Sea, the oil and gas in­dus­try has been slow to em­brace dig­i­tal so­lu­tions when com­pared with the likes of the au­to­mo­tive or aero­space in­dus­tries. There are some good rea­sons for this – ac­cess to dig­i­tal net­works off­shore has been lim­ited for ex­am­ple – but if you take an ob­jec­tive look at an oil plat­form, it’s ob­vi­ous that the ba­sic de­sign has not changed in the past 50 years. Com­pare this to the cars we drive, the tele­vi­sions we watch, the phones we use, and it is clear that the oil and gas in­dus­try has not been at the fore­front of tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment in re­cent times. So, what do we have to do? All this rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge – one that the Oil & Gas Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre was set up to ad­dress.

Our Dig­i­tal So­lu­tion Cen­tre has five out­come-based themes: a dig­i­tally en­abled sup­ply chain ini­tially fo­cused on marine lo­gis­tics; the use of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to sup­port sub-sur­face teams, with an ini­tial fo­cus on im­prov­ing ex­plo­ration; the dig­i­tally-en­abled worker to in­crease ef­fi­ciency off­shore; smart fa­cil­i­ties to pro­vide greater in­sight; and op­ti­mised pro­duc­tion to max­imise re­cov­ery. Un­der­ly­ing all th­ese is a sixth theme which ad­dresses the need to de­velop the dig­i­tal and data plat­forms re­quired across our in­dus­try that will en­able us to bet­ter ex­ploit our data and to share learn­ing rel­e­vant to the North Sea basin.

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