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Digital transformation holds the keys to the new normal

Nov 26, 2020
4 min read
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Estimated at $1.6 trillion across the oil and gas sector, digital transformation enables organisations to surface innovative solutions that set the foundations for a new way of doing business, says Dr Tariq Aslam, Head of MEA at AVEVA

Within the region and around the world, the oil industry is at a turning point. Lowered price forecasts and increasing regulatory pressures challenged market dynamics even before the coronavirus upended global business cycles. The pandemic has intensified these concerns with new and complex pressures. Unplanned outages at extraction sites, maintenance gaps resulting from supply chain disruptions, and the overnight pivot to remote operations have forced the industry to rethink its business approach.

Digital transformation has demonstrated how it can help businesses in different sectors streamline their operations by rationalising costs and enhancing process efficiencies. Comparably significant gains are on offer in oil and gas. At ADIPEC 2020, AVEVA demonstrated how digitalisation can drive new and better customer experiences while maximising value creation across asset and operations lifecycles within the energy industry.

The World Economic Forum estimates that digital transformation in oil and gas could generate approximately $1.6 trillion in value for the industry, its customers and wider society. Sectoral gains alone will account for $1 trillion in value. Naturally, digital transformation has become the primary priority for business leaders across the energy sector as organisations get accustomed to the new normal of remote and digital-led collaborations.

AVEVA has been leading the digitalisation of the industrial world by delivering technologies that are fast becoming mainstream, such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and perhaps most critically, cloud computing. With our full portfolio of products on display at ADIPEC 2020, AVEVA will be able to showcase how we cover not only asset and systems operations, but also provide CapEx certainty on the engineering side and direction for OpEx reductions. We are also currently developing new AI/machine learning modules to help our energy sector partners make better design decisions.

With this broad suite of solutions, AVEVA enables oil and gas companies to set the foundation for the new normal in several different ways.

Connectivity ensures workforces and operations continuity: Safety is always the top priority in oil and gas operations. In the coronavirus era, the biggest threat to workforce safety and operations continuity is proximity to co-workers. Connecting an agile but remote workforce to perform digitally enabled tasks such as remote maintenance, engineering, and operations is vital to protecting teams’ safety and reducing outbreak risks – while maintaining operations continuity. Enhanced cloud connectivity has shown demonstrable results in terms of reducing onsite operations team, a long-term industry goal.

Cloud improves supply chain agility: Heightened volatility in product prices and demand threatens even the most current production planning on a daily basis, adding to existing constraints following the implementation of IMO 2020. Production choices towards plant optimisation can taking weeks or months to be finalised. Here, a robust supply chain management cloud platform and real-time crude management tools enable rapid modelling of refinery production planning, reducing business risks while improving collaboration between remote teams.

AI improves operations agility: Process optimisation capabilities help operations respond to changes in feedstocks and product specifications on the one hand, and process performance and constraints on the other, using first principles simulation techniques to maximize profits. Real-time process and economic data can be leveraged to determine set points that guarantee maximum operating profit.

Predictive analytics enhances maintenance agility: Declining demand following the crisis has allowed companies to bring maintenance work turnarounds forward. The challenge here is to keep critical assets productive with changes in maintenance schedules and utilisation in this period of heightened uncertainty. Predictive analytics enables hydrocarbon producers and refiners to not only remotely monitor asset health but also improve asset reliability via early warning notifications and diagnosis of equipment issues weeks or months before failure. This reduces equipment downtime, increases availability, and improves performance while reducing operations and maintenance expenditure.

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