OMV Upstream: focused technological player

Dec 13, 2018
4 min read
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Johann Pleininger, Deputy Chairman of the OMV Executive Board and also responsible for the upstream business, on targets and how data application can establish the company as a top digital player in the industry

OMV in upstream has a strong base in Central Europe and a balanced international portfolio with production of 428,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in the first half of 2018.

OMV presented its Strategy 2025 this year in London. Can you give us an overview of the targets for the upstream business?

Let me start by saying that we’re already making good progress on many of these targets. For example we aim to increase production to 500,000 boe/d by 2020 and 600,000 boe/d by 2025 and we have already grown daily production by more than a third from the 2016 level of 311,000 boe to 428,000 in the first half of this year. We have also achieved a reserve replacement rate of 100 per cent and intend to keep it above this level long-term. I’m very optimistic that we will pass the 500,000 boe/d limit already by the end of 2018 – much earlier than expected. Our Abu Dhabi production start with 10,000 boe/d since September of this year is an important reason for this increase and early achievement.

That sounds like a good start…

It is and there is a lot more to come.   Like ensuring that natural gas accounts for more than 50 per cent by 2025, both for environmental and business reasons. Our high-quality portfolio has been realigned to focus on cash generation and we intend to grow primarily through acquisitions in cost- effective regions rich in hydrocarbons.

What regions are included here?

One aspect is developing Australasia into a core region, whereby our acquisition of Shell’s upstream New Zealand business this year will certainly help. We expect major long-term contributions to production and reserves from SARB and Umm Lulu (both Abu Dhabi) and Achimov IV/V (Russia).

What non-geographical aspects are you looking at to secure growth?

That’s an easy one. Our upstream technologies and innovations are as much of a priority as a well-balanced portfolio. Put simply, our technology drives recovery and reduces downtime. And we have the figures to prove it. For example, in Romania we have managed to reduce the number of well interventions per year from over 150,000 to below 6,000. We are an international leader in mature fields with recovery rates of up to 60 per cent. Not to mention our world records in drilling or that our current MTBF rate of producing wells in Austria exceeds 1,900 days.

So we’re talking Energy 4.0?

Precisely. In over 60 years of energy production our company has collected an enormous and valuable volume of data. These data archives – which take the form of core samples, seismic data and measurements from countless refinery sensors – deliver many advantages when it comes to applying technology in OMV’s core business. Cutting-edge digitalisation tools ensure the optimum evaluation and use of digital and analog data in machine control for increased efficiency and availability. This starts out from Austria, the hub of OMV’s global research and development activities.

Does this data then find its way into international applications?

Of course. OMV geoscientists use high-performance computer systems to create virtual field models and analyse them using artificial intelligence, delivering deep insights into potential oil and gas reservoirs to decision makers. Based on their data evaluation findings, the systems provide targeted interpretation assessments and suggestions for action. The latest IT asset in OMV’s tool kit is the 3D Visualisation Center. Here, OMV experts from all over the globe can analyse and interpret seismic data collectively – independent of where they are. These unique, high-resolution 3D visualisations serve as a sound basis for decision-making as they depict reservoirs down to the smallest detail.

How will digitalisation transform oil and gas exploration?

Artificial intelligence is becoming a major factor in evaluating and exploring oil and gas reservoirs. We are already using intelligent algorithms to analyse new fields quickly and efficiently, as well as integrating data from old fields to evaluate opportunities and risks. Digital tools like advanced analytics help us produce in a faster and more cost- efficient manner, with machine learning and cloud solutions serving as essential tools for processing seismic data. And by crowdsourcing ideas, we are accelerating innovation throughout the group – just what we need to become a top digital player.