Digital transformation to spur growth in oil and gas sector
October 3, 2017 | 5:24 PM
by Syed Haitham Hasan/[email protected]
Omani companies should move forward with cloud based applications and increasing connectivity. - Talib Al Wahaibi/Times of Oman

Muscat: Digital transformation in the oil and gas sector is key to reducing costs and increasing efficiency, experts at the Digital Transformation of oil and gas industry conference concluded.

Oil and gas industry has suffered falling revenues and choking investments as crude prices declined by more than 60 per cent in two year from 2014.

Companies have since resorted to rationalising expenses but experts believe firms can reduce up to 30 per cent in their operations by implementing digital technologies.

“Technology and digitisation is the direction we must be going in. We have seen other sectors do it and overtake market cap of oil and gas companies in the world in just 10 years. We have big data, internet of things, cloud, artificial intelligence, robotics and drones, all of which we can use to improve performance in oilfields,” Dr. Hatem Nasr, Senior Advisor for Oil and Gas Industry at Huawei said.

Dr. Nasr suggested that Omani companies must move forward with cloud based applications and increasing connectivity.

“Oil and gas firms have weathered the current situation by using LEAN and restructuring among other things. The next step is to implement digitisation that will reduce 30 per cent of operational costs,” David Sayah from McKinsey & Company said.

He presented applications in upstream, mid stream and downstream areas that could make use of digitisation to improve efficiency.

“In the downstream, for example, we can relocate fuel stations or change the product offerings at already present stations by using analytics and finding out where demand is highest for different products. This can help us be more efficient and save costs. It helps us become proactive than being reactive,” Sayah added.

Digitisation technology allows 24x7 surveillance of oil and gas operations. Failure or service requirements can be monitored remotely using such technology or drones, especially in areas that are hazardous to human life. This can be done by analysing historical and real-time data using AI, big data and data mining tools. It is also known to increase well life and production.

“Not being able to detect failure of electrical submersible pumps (ESP) in the oil and gas industry will be considered unacceptable in the next 10 years. That is the pace we are going forward with currently in the oil and gas sector,” Dr. Trygve Randen from Schlumberger said.

PDO in Oman has already implemented several digitisation tools including the Real-time Operations Portal (Nibras), a predictive analytics tool.

“We have already implemented one of the best technologies. There are a few areas we are looking at to implement more digitisation,” said Raoul Restucci, Managing Director of PDO.

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