Em­brac­ing a dig­i­tal op­er­at­ing model in oil and gas

En­ergy com­pa­nies are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sig­nif­i­cant change and dis­rup­tion with the ar­rival of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and block chain tech­nol­ogy. With in­fi­nite op­por­tu­ni­ties brought about by these emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, the fu­ture s

The Australian Energy Review - - NEWS -

Jonathan Smith Ac­cen­ture Asia Pa­cific Oil & Gas Lead

WHILE the op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth are lim­it­less, or­gan­i­sa­tions’ time, tal­ent, and fund­ing are not. Tech­nol­ogy in­vest­ment there­fore needs to be sup­ported by an agile, adap­tive, dig­i­tal and flex­i­ble op­er­at­ing model which en­sures or­gan­i­sa­tions po­si­tion them­selves ef­fec­tively to har­ness the full value.

In defin­ing and tran­si­tion­ing to this dig­i­tal op­er­at­ing model, Ac­cen­ture has iden­ti­fied three im­per­a­tives for suc­cess:

1. build­ing a mind­set that can nav­i­gate both ef­fi­ciency and agility at the same time.

In Ac­cen­ture’s 2016 Up­stream Oil and Gas Dig­i­tal Trends Sur­vey it showed that dig­i­tal was adding the most value through cost re­duc­tion, im­prov­ing worker pro­duc­tiv­ity and contributing to smarter busi­ness de­ci­sions; high­light­ing the mix be­tween ef­fi­ciency and agility.

While any cul­tural change takes time, there are things that can be done now to sup­port the tran­si­tion.

At a prac­ti­cal level, oil and gas com­pa­nies can start by em­brac­ing Devops to sup­port con­tin­u­ous in­te­gra­tion, de­liv­ery and au­to­mated test­ing of code.

This step is closely fol­lowed by the dis­ag­gre­ga­tion of ex­ist­ing ar­chi­tec­tures— de­cou­pling sys­tems of en­gage­ment from sys­tems of record. In sep­a­rat­ing these un­der­ly­ing tech­nol­ogy ar­chi­tec­tures, or­gan­i­sa­tions can de­liver change in their busi­ness in a co­or­di­nated but non-syn­chro­nous way. Fi­nally, or­gan­i­sa­tions should con­sider how they can ap­ply in­fra­struc­ture “as-a-ser­vice” de­liv­ery mod­els to sup­port greater in­no­va­tion and flex­i­bil­ity.

2. Cre­at­ing the dig­i­tal work­force of the fu­ture.

De­spite the mag­ni­tude of the in­dus­try, re­search from Ac­cen­ture and APPEA in­di­cates that the Aus­tralian oil and gas work­force has less ex­pe­ri­ence than other oil and gas pro­duc­ing re­gions glob­ally.

In fact, Aus­tralia has a lower pro­por­tion of pro­fes­sional work­ers with 10 or more years of oil and gas in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence; in­di­cat­ing a strong need to ac­cel­er­ate ex­pe­ri­ence through train­ing and in­no­va­tive pro­grams.

With Aus­tralian oil and gas com­pa­nies mak­ing sub­stan­tial in­vest­ments in dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, it is crit­i­cal that the work­force is de­vel­op­ing the right dig­i­tal skills in or­der to re­alise the com­plete value of the in­vest­ment.

Also, ac­cord­ing to re­cent Ac­cen­ture re­search, dig­i­tal is in­creas­ing worker pro­duc­tiv­ity, im­prov­ing job train­ing/ skilling and in­creas­ing em­ployee en­gage­ment. The point around em­ployee en­gage­ment is par­tic­u­larly telling as there is clearly a re­al­i­sa­tion that the en­ergy worker of the (very near) fu­ture will have to be dig­i­tal savvy.

3. New days, new ways.

Be­ing a dig­i­tal busi­ness means adopt­ing new ways of be­hav­ing and op­er­at­ing. Or­gan­i­sa­tions should start with dig­i­tal in­vest­ments to strengthen ex­ist­ing, core cus­tomer op­er­a­tions to be­come lean, op­er­a­tionally ex­cel­lent and sus­tain­able.

In­te­grat­ing data, ap­pli­ca­tions and pro­cesses across the busi­ness that have his­tor­i­cally been man­aged in hor­i­zon­tal si­los will be es­sen­tial to tak­ing ad­van­tage of the dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion.

The next gen­er­a­tion of dig­i­tal or ‘in­tel­li­gent’ plants will in­te­grate real time in­for­ma­tion to de­liver in­sights and fore­sight re­gard­ing op­er­a­tional per­for­mance, and will help the in­dus­try op­ti­mise plant op­er­a­tion, avail­abil­ity, costs and safety.

This would re­sult in im­proved ef­fi­ciency, re­duced non-pro­duc­tive time and shorter de­ci­sion-mak­ing pro­cesses.

Fur­ther­more, by build­ing such dig­i­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, or­gan­i­sa­tions will gain the right to par­tic­i­pate in new en­ergy ecosys­tems that will en­able them to seize new rev­enue op­por­tu­ni­ties and tap into un­ex­pected mar­kets.

Un­der­stand­ing the role of dig­i­tal in the or­gan­i­sa­tion and start­ing to move to­wards a new model now, will help oil and gas com­pa­nies trans­form op­er­a­tions and place dig­i­tal at the heart of the busi­ness.

With op­er­a­tors in­vest­ing over $250 bil­lion since 2009 in the Aus­tralian LNG in­dus­try, com­pa­nies who suc­cess­fully cre­ate an or­gan­i­sa­tional cul­ture of dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion are bet­ter pre­pared to re­spond to the chang­ing land­scape.

As the next chap­ter of the oil and gas in­dus­try emerges and evolves, adapt­ing a dig­i­tal op­er­at­ing model will set or­gan­i­sa­tions up to take full ad­van­tage of what is to come and un­lock new streams of value.

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