New online tool to save North Sea industry £250m a year

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A new initiative will save the UK oil and gas industry up to £250 million a year by streamlining the equipment procurement process.

UK North Sea operators hire or buy about 700,000 parts every year, and each transaction involves several exchanges of technical information.

One company found that the average deal occupied three man hours, but would only take minutes if the right information was readily available.

Meanwhile, suppliers often need to create several versions of technical information to suit different operators.

The UK Hub Digital Data Exchange will tackle these issues when it launches at the end of the second quarter of 2019.

It could digitally transform the procurement process and become the go-to source of technical equipment information.

The Oil and Gas Technology Centre has provided financial backing for the scheme, which has the support of North Sea operators.

Sharecat Solutions, which has bases in Aberdeen and Bergen, is leading the technical development of the software.

Brian Imray, vice president of Sharecat Solutions, and a director of the UK Hub, said: “The UK Hub Digital Data Exchange is the result of over two years of effort from all the participating companies and engagement with all levels of the supply chain.

“The concept stems from a cost sustainability study that clearly showed collaboration and standardisation were key to future-proofing the life of the UK oil and gas industry.

“The potential to create business efficiencies is enormous, by avoiding costly and time-consuming duplication of effort across projects. One operator alone reported proven annual benefits of approximately £60m.”

Stephen Ashley, digital transformation solution centre manager for the OGTC, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the UK Hub project. In our discussions with the industry, standardisation has been identified as a key enabler for an efficient supply chain.

“This project represents an agreement between operators, contractors and suppliers to implement a collaborative solution that could deliver significant benefit across the entire industry. Its future success hinges on wider uptake, so I encourage anyone who’s interested to get in touch.

“Industries such as retail have gone through an unprecedented revolution in terms of supply chain management. We need to embrace the fourth industrial revolution and create a digitally enabled supply chain for the UKCS. The UK Hub is one of a number of projects that we’re co-investing in with industry to make this a reality.”

UK Hub will be previewed later this month at an event in Aberdeen.