Global energy requirements continue to rise. The industry focus is shifting to an integrated approach on the exploration, development and production of new oil and gas resources and refining and distribution facilities. Industry leaders are building various centralized control and monitoring centers in the name of iField-Digital Oil Field, Smart Manufacturing, CWE – Collaborative Work Environment, IRIS – Integrated Refinery Information Systems, etc.
There are other key challenges that the industry faces in terms of forecasting and budgeting and they are exceedingly difficult in the face of the ongoing pricing volatility and many other uncertainties of a dynamic environment on and off the field, not to mention geo-political pressure, the country’s economy dependence, sustaining oil fields over the period of time, and finding and keeping experienced personnel to manage the production control centers.
This paper mainly discusses the current business challenges faced by the industry and how an organization adapts to growing technological solutions to overcome the challenges using Centralization of control centers.
Industry leaders are turning to a variety of innovative technologies like unmanned control systems, mobile asset management, wireless sensors, robot based monitoring etc. But a few questions need to be answered before taking any investment decisions on these technologies
- Are these technologies enough to meet the demands of today’s environment and are they scalable and expandable for future needs?
- How do we integrate and synergize the volume of data and details that these systems generate?
- What are the value additions to the organization in bringing business functions together to improve productivity, cost efficiencies and reduce HSE incidents, etc?
Some of the specific challenges of the Oil & Gas industry are as follows:
- Number of applications deployed across the enterprise at both the business and production levels to manage and record operations performance. Each application instance has its own unique reference and data model which makes dependencies with multiple vendors for integration.
- Process tag information and its context to equipment are not conveyed in real-time system integration, thus a heavy reliance on engineering interpretation.
- Process events and alerts cannot be easily defined, distributed, and subscribed to, across the enterprise to initiate business processes or personnel collaboration, or prompt attention.
- Production analysis calculations are done off-line, requiring data replication and are not accessible for reuse and access by dashboards, portals and KPIs.
- Critical Events are captured in silos and decision are taken in fire fighting mode at local levels.
- Real time process views are restricted to plant level / production center level.
- To a great extent, knowledge sharing and cross learning are not happening between the field and corporate centers.
Organizational approach to new-age solutions
The approach to new age oil and gas systems implementation should consist of a clear road map based on maturity vs. value that it brings to the organization.
- The availability of advanced technology could greatly shorten time-to-value and increase investment returns.
- There is an impending need for progressing from field instruments data to integration to intelligence.
- Collectively, they reflect a holistic view of the field, instead of a fragmented mix of siloed technologies – as sophisticated as each may be on its own.
- Collaborating the business function and their IT applications including rationalization of in-house applications.
- Enabling predictive and informed operations of plants/assets/clusters
As part of an effective business and IT integration strategy, the solution needs to focus on the Visibility, Governance, and Automation needed to answer the challenges of providing superior operations as follows:
Visibility Bring together the business units in real-time and gain an understanding of systems, assets and operations. Deliver real-time insight based on complex event processing and access rich historical reports
Governance Model the organization changes including people and process, also minimize risk. Integrate assets across business and IT to reduce risks to services and your corporate reputation.
Automation Accelerate tasks and processes through work flow enabled IT applications and systems. Build greater agility into operations and speed service delivery by reducing manual intervention
Any solution to overcome business challenges mainly runs through investment cycle and development cycle and focuses on areas like,
- Business process streamlining / improvement in workflow
- Technical area of systems implemented in Corporate and field level
- Infrastructure for physical and communication
- Change management including training, up skilling, restructuring etc.