Advantages of the digital oil field


There have already been some strange deviations caused by the lack of trained workers in the oil business. In one instance, a prominent oil and gas corporation made the decision to reject a sizeable acquisition with promising prospects for exploration and production. This occurred in part because the business had doubts about its ability to hire the right managers. If you are looking for the best digital oil field go through

These kinds of accounts might become commonplace shortly. Oil corporations now have a motive to invest in oil areas that previously would have seemed too expensive and too difficult to access because demand for oil is increasing and prices are at record highs. However, the industry may require 500,000 more workers than it has at the moment to manage these huge, remote activities, and by 2030, this shortage could amount to 1.7 million.

It will be very difficult to fill this workforce shortage. Since fewer individuals like to work in industries that experience booms and busts and because the average oil worker is over 50, it is possible that filling vacant positions when retirees are replaced will be just as difficult. In response to this circumstance, oil companies are starting to adopt a radically different approach: converting conventionally labor-intensive, gritty oil operations into cutting-edge, technologically advanced “digital oil fields,” where a small team of skilled workers can perform tasks that in the past required a few hundred.

Most significant national oil firms, including Saudi Aramco, Petrobras, and Kuwait Oil Company, as well as every major private oil company, have digital oil field initiatives in place. Examples include Shell’s Smart Fields, BP’s Field of the Future, and Chevron’s iFields. Over the next five years, the sector is expected to invest more than $1 billion in digital oil fields, including hardware, software, and services. In fact, before 2013, one major oil company intends to invest over $100 million in its digital oil field programme in only one location before expanding parts of the programme to four additional locations.

A collection of interactive and complementary technologies known as the “digital oil field” enables businesses to collect and analyze data from all across the job site. The term “intelligent wells” refers to drilling equipment with fiber-optic sensors that can be operated manually by humans on the surface or automatically by closed-loop information systems. These sensors send out a continuous stream of information about the well and its surroundings, allowing operators to react in real time to changing conditions. For instance, when the drilling surface becomes more or less permeable, they can alter fluid pressure or valve settings. Additionally, “advance alarming” systems are used in digital oil fields to forecast performance levels and alert of impending equipment breakdown.

Digital data from the oil fields is put into automated workflow and knowledge-management systems, which then distribute it to the workers who require it to make quick choices. A company’s worldwide knowledge exchanges, which are essentially corporate wikis, may be accessed at any time and can link both historical and current content. Such pooled information is a goldmine in a sector where field data was previously held on clipboards or in Excel spreadsheets in the local field office.

A new type of engineer and technician is needed to oversee these systems; one that not only has extensive operating knowledge, but also the analytical capabilities to examine data from various sources and rapidly and reliably identify the linkages between different bits of information. Many of these employees work from far-off locations, possibly kilometers from the oil wells itself, and they use video technology to coordinate with on-site activities.

Policymakers who seek to lower the likelihood of workplace injuries may give these kinds of operations a boost. For instance, Norway is requiring all businesses developing new offshore oil and gas operations to first take into account a fully functional subsea infrastructure that is monitored from the surface using cutting-edge command centers with little to no direct human involvement. If many of the well operators are located hundreds of miles away, a storm on a drilling platform at sea is significantly less threatening.

The field of digital oil can also directly benefit the bottom line. An oil and gas company that has totally merged its production activities with its day-to-day gas marketing and trading organization is now able to benefit from intraday price variations. The company standardized its procedures across all of its regional markets in order to achieve this transformation, including the front office control of production volume and the back office determination of contract specifics for the allocation of natural gas.

Using this integrated strategy, the corporation calculated the output of regional gas fields based on the implications for its entire portfolio, allocating resources and deciding on production in response to real-time market conditions. The company estimates that by using this approach, it has saved more than $10 million in labor expenditures, money that it has utilized to expand into other regions of research and production, recruit more engineers, and so on. The company’s net performance from production across its whole portfolio has increased by 10%, which equates to an annual return on its technological investment of more than 30%.

Despite the fact that many digital oil field technologies are industry-specific to the oil industry, this data-rich approach might be useful in any engineering-driven industry, especially one that is facing a similar manpower shortage. Nevertheless, despite the fact that introducing a higher level of automation and visibility into plant operations has significant advantages, doing so is not without difficulties. One of the major challenges in deploying the digital oil field or any other system like it is getting staff to accept a new operating approach. The tasks that highly technical and analytical individuals are responsible for change as businesses restructure their operations to make the greatest use of new technologies.

Process simulations (computer-based renditions of the new technology, which can be practiced in advance) can provide powerful tools to help people embrace their new roles and the new technology: “learning through building” (allowing operators to contribute to prototypes of the system and thus help design how it will be used); wargaming (bringing together people to role-play the new operating methods using computers). 

Last but not least, the oil and gas industry is utilizing concepts like lean manufacturing and Six Sigma, developed in other developed manufacturing sectors like aerospace and automotive, to eliminate organizational waste through better technology and techniques and to help overcome talent shortages by enhancing productivity. By automating routine tasks and notifications that help engineers do research, energy companies may make better use of their limited human resources.

The digital oil field is the sector’s much-needed spark. Without these innovations, oil and gas businesses will be forced to balance the competing demands of an expanding oil market and a dwindling worker force. The new approach is not a cure-all, but it may open up new avenues for innovation, enabling businesses to access hitherto inaccessible reserves affordably and safely in order to supply the world’s need for carbon.

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