Like everyone in Aberdeen, and probably the wider industry, I’ve awaited Offshore Europe 2017 with a certain level of trepidation that it will struggle to live up to previous years – particularly given cutbacks by many companies and the fact that many more are no longer in existence.
The event, whether rightly or wrongly, is a giant weathervane for oil and gas and a barometer of future industry conditions. Collectively, we’ll scrutinise who has and hasn’t taken a stand; examine footfall stats and, importantly, assess how good the freebees are.
In all seriousness, this is only natural as we appear to be edging our way out of the longest downturn since the mid-1980s. However, as I reviewed the conference programme, highlighted the sessions not to miss, diarised meetings and blocked out time to simply walk the exhibition floor, it became clear to me that regardless of perceived success or otherwise, what is exciting for me at least, is the focus of this year’s event and if we really can, embrace new realities and reinvent our industry.
In my role as head of product development for a technology business, I am lucky enough to be involved with projects that have shown me that this is possible. No longer is industry playing lip service to new technology and new ways of working, it’s embracing them. More than that, operators are now demanding supply chain innovation to deliver essential change to operational practice. In our own interaction with clients we’ve witnessed a real interest in technological solutions to challenges, less hesitancy in piloting them and most importantly, an openness to and acceptance that shiny new technologies need to be accompanied by different ways of working to facilitate actual change. I am lucky too, that our own R2S solution delivers on both counts and continues to evolve to face industry challenges.
This year’s conference programme is loaded with sessions from; disrupting and digitising our industry to breakthrough ideas in supply chain effectiveness, innovative digital solution and emergent platform inspection technologies, to name but a few (and all areas that R2S is already positively impacting). In addition, the introduction of untested technologies through The OGTC Technology Zone and TechTrek demonstrate the central focus on technology and demand for change.
This supports my belief that collaboration, communication and a thirst to learn from others from within industry and from other industries is prevalent – spurred on over the last year by a drive from bodies such as Oil and Gas UK, and organisations like OGIC and The OGTC – the latter of which we are delighted to be a proactive member of.
At Return To Scene, we are leading the R&D charge in this space and in fundamentally changing the working ways of oil and gas through the democratisation of data. We are continuously working on the development of R2S – the latest generation of which we introduced to market this very week last year at OE’s sister event here in Aberdeen, SPE Intelligent Energy.
One year on and we are making R2S even more accessible through the creation of a web version. This was an iterative process we purposely didn’t rush to ensure optimal data security – something that is very important to our clients. Throughout this period, we’ve been working on and piloting R2S Web with several clients in different environments and on different mobile (android and iOS) and intrinsically safe devices.
R2S Web enhances the benefits identified by industry; increased efficiencies and collaboration, cost savings, reducing the need to travel and pressure on bed space our client software has already achieved; but goes further by creating greater accessibility to data for our clients and their entire supply chains. Providing access to multiple viewers (from operator to subcontractor), users can conduct measurements, view images and linked data and review equipment tags and inspection reports, without the requirement for site visits.
From an IT perspective, it also offers time and cost benefits by reducing the need for users to instal software on their device. This is just one of many R&D projects we’ve been working on during this exciting time for Return To Scene and wider industry as technological momentum builds and drivers for process change grow in parallel. So regardless of footfall and who is or isn’t exhibiting, I for one intend to absorb all I can from OE2017, listen to what industry needs, learn what other technologies are on offer and bring this knowledge and market intelligence back to our business. I can’t, however, promise not to pass judgment on the freebees!
Wishing everyone a successful Offshore Europe 2017.
Martin MacRae is the head of product development & support at R2S.