The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has set out its strategy to digitalise the North Sea with the aim of taking a slice of a $510bn global data prize.
An “enormously ambitious” digital strategy has been published, setting out how the regulator will transform its own operations through to 2025 and encourage the same in UK energy companies.
The regulator described a huge opportunity, highlighting a prediction from the McKinsey Global Institute that between $240bn – $510bn of business value could be unlocked annually in the world’s oil and gas sector through more accessible data.
The aim of the five-year strategy is to see digitalisation “embraced across the exploration, production and decommissioning lifecycle” in the North Sea.
Part of the initiative includes the creation of an OGA digital platform – a single point for companies to access a host of exploration and production information.
It will also bring an enhanced business intelligence platform to improve decision-making and analysis by drawing on data science techniques.
The OGA said there was a “considerable risk” that a lack of digital skills will lead to organisations competing for competent workers, so the regulator would carry out an OGA-wide programme to upskill its own staff and that of its partners.
It will also work on new initiatives with groups including Opportunity North East, the Technology Leadership Board and the Oil and Gas Technology Centre to promote the use of digitalisation to reduce costs, maximise economic recovery and support the energy transition.
The work will build on other initiatives put in place by the OGA, including the launch of its National Data Repository (NDR) in February.
The NDR is a free hub for a wealth of subsurface petroleum information in the UK North Sea aimed at boosting exploration and investment.
The OGA said it has made “significant progress” in the last three years to use digital solutions but the OGA and wider industry “must now balance risk and reward to fully capitalise” on the potential value of digitalisation.
Chief information officer Simon James said: “We are enormously ambitious about the impact this strategy can have both within the OGA and across industry.
“Being the industry’s go-to source for authoritative data has always been a high priority for us but now we can go further by fostering a digitally-enabled culture and providing enhanced user experiences to stakeholders.
“Data is an enabler of new and disruptive business models, which can lower costs, develop new digital platforms and improve digital experiences.”