The benefits of digitalisation

TODAY the brownfield oil and gas industry is heavily burdened with administering its outdated processes, used to control work programs such as plant modifications, turn arounds and systems integrity. The result is vast amounts of information, unstructured and duplicated data that not only cost untold millions to obtain, but also remains largely inaccessible to all but the very few within an organisation. Add to this the loss of expertise through an ageing and retiring workforce; digital technology is not just a ‘nice to have’, but essential for a safe and efficiently run operation.

Our company is made up of a directorial team that have over 150 years combined experience and, from the outset of the company`s inception in 2002, we made it our objective to develop digital systems that embraced integrated processes that interact with the visualisation of the plant, in a bid to improve efficiency and fully utilise the technological era that was unfolding.

Huge advancements in computer application skills and software, coupled with increased data storage capacities and systems such as the cloud, have enabled us to develop and customise our products and company offerings to a level that we couldn`t even have envisage 10 years ago.

An example of how we as a company are using technology to reduce cost in the offshore oil and gas sector:

The manhour cost offshore is between three and five times that of an onshore manhour. Digital technology can help by significantly reducing the administrative burden and increasing productivity by up to 35%, a considerable saving in this high-cost environment.

This can be achieved by utilising integrated work processes that interact directly with the 3D design model and digital scanning solutions that deliver panoramic visualisation. Further areas where we are seeing huge gains in efficiency is with the use of handheld devices to track progress and record data in real-time. Computer technology power and primitive AI type solutions are used to automate and predict repetitive data inputs for pre-population and create ‘smart’ databases for single-source areas of data storage and access across a whole project workforce. This can vastly improve compilation and handover times of completion documents when bringing the plant back on-line, post TAR for example.

Our overall strategy for the future is to expand and deliver even more efficiency and accountability to our clients. A cost module is now in development which will record manhours and other expenditure directly from the handheld devices which can then track cost and progress from the same data source. Also, a scheduling module is planned for 2020 which will have the ability to react to change more efficiently to augment current planning systems and report progress in real-time, again by using handheld devices.

For us as a company, digitalisation is key to achieving the commitments we make every day to our clients. We can only see further advancements and progress being made in all areas of the industry. This is especially true in today’s world; all the major organisations within the oil and gas industry are becoming more inclined to embrace digitalisation and fully realising its true potential and the benefits it creates for the present and the future.