Data offers the oil and gas industry a chance to carry out operations in a better and more efficient fashion – but to get there it must be made available.
The financial industry is making progress in this direction, through open banking standards. The energy industry must follow suit.
“It’s a data problem,” Cognite head of energy industry transformation Caroline Torres told Energy Voice. “There’s a massive amount of data available but the industry has warehoused it. Data is managed, not operated.”
This is a missed opportunity. This information can be used for companies to make better decisions and to become more sustainable. Examples include cutting fuel consumption, or working in a safer way.
“The industry is changing, it is more open than it was in the past,” Torres said, citing the OSDU data platform. “It’s more open than it was in the past.”
An industry wide safety database offers companies a chance to share best operating processes. “No single company has enough information to make it meaningful, but start sharing and then that changes. People are starting to share, for instance drilling parameters and so on.”
Another instance where improved transparency will help the industry is on the environmental front.
“Companies have to overcome the perception around greenwashing. Many companies have made ambitious claims but they need total transparency. They have that information themselves, but there’s a mindset switch needed.”
The most progress may be seen where there is a commercial driver for such a change.
Historically, the industry has worked retrospectively. For instance, examining invoices for fuel consumption and computing emissions.
“If you want to operate by using less fuel, you need real time data. Companies are coming to us and want to have that information, so they can incorporate footprint data.”
Data and money
There are instances where simply increasing production could actually lead to lower profits. In areas where emissions are taxed, this could cut into profits.
“Companies have to incorporate that into their decision making process,” Torres said. It seems likely that pressure in this direction from regulators will only continue.
Another area for improved operation, which would have positive impacts for companies and reduce the environmental impact, is maintenance. AI can predict when a company must carry out maintenance, rather than simply scheduling it. Such a move is good for business.
Sharing is starting to be seen as a way for the industry to tackle its problems, including by governments.
The UK has backed a number of clusters to reduce emissions, such as at Teeside and the Humber.
There are challenges along the way, though. Torres noted security as one issue, where companies are increasingly concerned about sharing sensitive data or more malicious actions, such as the Colonial Pipeline hack.
More prosaic challenges include standardisation of measurements. This is not a show stopper, Torres noted, but does require some extra data wrangling.