While working for a technology services organisation Schlumberger, I have seen first-hand the way technology has transformed the oil and gas industry from every angle throughout my working life.
The Technology Leadership Board (TLB) recognises that digital is the next step change in performance for our industry and one that we cannot ignore.
When we think about digital we often think of specific solutions, an app, a wearable device, a remote visual inspection of an offshore operation.
When we as the TLB think about digital, we’re thinking of the entire ecosystem that brings all these solutions together in pursuit of the real goals — increased value, efficiency, reliability, and of course the reduced emissions and transformational technologies that will enable net zero. In the TLB we are focused on nurturing the ecosystem that will support these outcomes.
On September 1 an important milestone in the industry’s digital journey was marked, the launch of the first UKCS Data and Digital Survey Report. The survey will help us better understand the attitudes, strategies and progress of different companies across the industry with respect to their respective digital journeys.
I am encouraged that while the survey tells us the journey is well under way, we have not fully embraced the transformation required.
Digital transformation is a change journey like any other, requiring careful change management and real leadership at executive level.
While leaders are not expected to be digital experts, they need to communicate their digital vision, clearly articulate the value to their business and role model the expected behaviours.
Sharing data between companies who are competitors today is a key barrier the industry needs to overcome, requiring leadership to be brave, taking the first steps and creating the environment where the understanding of the shared benefits catalyses action.
The offshore energy system today broadly remains the industrial system built in the twentieth century. Looking to the future and meeting the challenge of de-carbonising while continuing to supply the UK’s energy needs will require major changes to physical infrastructure, but also a revolution of data infrastructure and the tools and technologies that allow data to be accessed and shared.
Robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems are revolutionising offshore energy installation, inspection, repair maintenance and decommissioning. They have the potential to improve safety, reduce costs and carbon footprints, while increasing resilience.
As an industry we need to be humble and learn from other sectors who have gone faster in their digital journeys. Genuine digital transformation is fundamental to remaining a strategic energy supplier to the UK in a net-zero world. Today we have the technology and tools we need; leadership and vision are required to make this a reality on the UKCS.
Mikki Corcoran is the industry co-chair of the Technology Leadership Board (TLB). With 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, Mikki currently holds the position of managing director, Schlumberger Europe. Prior to her current role she was general manager, drilling, for North America Offshore and before that she was a global account director for a tier one customer. Mikki has held various management positions in operations, human resources, sales and commercial and supply chain in Norway, the US, Asia and Europe. She began her career as a Wireline Field Engineer in 2000 in the Norwegian North Sea.
The TLB works with industry, government and other stakeholders to define priorities to adopt, adapt and/or develop oil and gas technologies, securing investments, strengthen UK oil and gas industry competitiveness and deliver the dual objectives of maximising economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources while achieving net zero.