Operators support value proposition of digital transformation

Many oil and gas companies are investing in the notion that digital technologies can solve some of the ongoing challenges in the industry while enhancing value for their stakeholders. The benefits for other industries, such as medical and mining, are well documented.

David Paganie • Houston

Many oil and gas companies are investing in the notion that digital technologies can solve some of the ongoing challenges in the industry while enhancing value for their stakeholders. The benefits for other industries, such as medical and mining, are well documented.

Digital has been used in the oilfield for decades, primarily in the exploration phase (seismic imaging and interpretation), and for real-time monitoring of drilling and production. Full integration throughout all phases of upstream operations, from exploration to production, could unlock about $275 billion for the industry, according to a report from the World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation Initiative. The report suggests that 90% of this value could accrue by optimizing drilling and production, and from leveraging the data from connected assets to feed advanced analytics algorithms. This can reduce costs related to nonproductive time and improve resource productivity. The expected benefits are even greater with the integration of digital technologies throughout the value chain.

Abu Dhabi’s national oil company (ADNOC) is testing this theory. The operator is using digital-based command centers, Thamama Subsurface Collaboration Center and Panorama Digital Command Center, to visually integrate Abu Dhabi’s subsurface with its surface operations to create a single source of real-time information from across the value chain. It uses the Thamama Subsurface Collaboration Center to monitor up to 120 live drilling sites simultaneously, comparing performance against historical wells, plans, and benchmarks to reduce drilling costs, improve rig efficiencies, and increase productivity.

The operator uses the Panorama Digital Command Center to draw from a set of data points across the company, from the upstream to the downstream and global distribution network, visualizing it on a 50-m [164-ft] wide video wall to provide the single access point to ADNOC’s real-time performance. The center aggregates real-time information from the operator’s operations and businesses, presenting data at a group-wide level but also giving access to information from individual assets. ADNOC has been using the centers for its offshore projects to identify and maximize synergies between overlapping Upper Zakum and Lower Zakum concession areas. The operator says it has digitized and automated all its new offshore fields and will fully automate its new onshore fields by 2019.

Offshore Europe-Editor Jeremy Beckman spoke with Abdul Munim Al Kindy, Director, ADNOC Upstream Directorate, for insight behind these and other initiatives that seek to maximize development of Abu Dhabi’s proven and undiscovered hydrocarbon resources, and what they mean to the emirate’s long-term oil and gas future. The interview begins on page 20.

Anadarko is supporting the value proposition of a digital transformation with its Advanced Analytics & Emerging Technologies Group, which launched in 2016. One stated objective of the group is to use advanced geophysical analytics to enable and augment exploration success, for subsea tiebacks to its existing infrastructure in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Anadarko’s acquisition of Freeport McMoRan Oil & Gas’ deepwater GoM assets in 2016, which increased its total operated platforms to 10, positioned it with a healthy inventory of tieback opportunities. The company intends to digitalize its operations to enable real-time optimization, as part of its digital strategy.

Meanwhile, operators are beginning to integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence into business processes, which can significantly reduce the cycle time of data interpretation at scale. This technology is expected to usher a step change in the digital transformation of the oil and gas industry.

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