The modern oil and gas industry is undergoing significant changes related to the digitalization of the sector. Growing volatility in oil prices further complicates a rapidly changing energy sector.
Accenture specialists identify 4 main factors changing the oil and gas industry:
- Carbon-free energy systems. As demand for hydrocarbons decreases in many developed markets, economic growth gradually ceases to be dependent on this demand.
- Energy efficiency. Investing in energy-efficient technologies helps control energy demand. It is a critical factor in reducing dependence on hydrocarbons.
- New consumer of energy. Today consumers want a transparent and personalized service, which requires a conscious approach to protecting the environment.
- Global digitalization. With the advent of new consumers, platforms, and game rules, digital technology is changing the landscape, requiring a rethinking of the value chain.
Oil companies can determine the scale of innovation needed to redefine their role to compete in a changing energy market.
Key technology trends for 2021
All oil and gas industry areas are modernized and improved: exploration and development of fields, production, and oil refining. Related areas are also affected, including industrial safety, equipment repair, and maintenance, logistics and transportation of petroleum products.
In 2021, the following trends in the oil and gas industry can be distinguished:
- Internet of Things – a collection of data from sensors in real-time for automatic adjustment of technological processes.
- Maximum robotization of processes and exclusion of the human factor.
- Virtual and augmented reality, 3D and personnel training when performing equipment maintenance.
- 3D printing of the necessary equipment elements directly in the field.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning for faster decision-making in emergencies in production.
- Improvement of measuring and logging instruments (a type of healthy survey – “Hi-tech”) in the process of drilling.
- Reservoir modeling, the drilling process, and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing planning based on big data.
- Transition to modular drilling rigs with maximum automation and increased safety, low noise, and comfort for personnel. The travel time for such an installation is reduced from one and a half to two months to one week.
- Video analytics and BI dashboards to improve work efficiency.
- Interaction of divisions of oil companies, information exchange with counterparties using blockchain technology.
Innovating to produce tomorrow’s oil and gas
Predictive analytics for equipment maintenance
A predictive analytics system can solve the problem of timely maintenance of equipment. Installing sensors to collect data on equipment operation and developing software for analyzing the quality of equipment operation and performing repairs help to solve many problems before they arise. It allows to optimize the headcount of repair crews by 15-20% and reduce equipment downtime.
There are several jobs where the involvement of qualified personnel such as drilling engineers is only necessary for an abnormal situation. It is expensive to maintain such full-time specialists. The solution is augmented reality (AR) technology. With their help, engineers can remotely interact with operators at the production site, coordinating their actions during emergencies. The use of such technologies can reduce costs by 20-25%.
Creation of a personnel reserve
One of the notable trends in the labor market in the oil and gas industry is the natural decline in the number of skilled workers resulting from aging. It is necessary to create a personnel reserve of young specialists. However, the complexity and high cost of organizing an internship in hard-to-reach fields complicate training delivery. AR / VR technologies of augmented and virtual reality can cope with this problem. Based on these technologies, it is possible to create training simulators that accurately simulate production processes in the field without traveling to remote areas.
3D printing for creating tools
3D technology allows you to solve the problem of maintaining equipment performance in, particularly hard-to-reach places. With the help of a 3D printer, it becomes possible to create downhole tools and equipment components on-site, minimizing equipment downtime by 10-15%.
Big Data analysis for risk assessment
The declining cost of sensors, the availability of network connectivity, an increase in the number of intelligent devices, and the creation of the IoT is accelerating the accumulation of data in the oil and gas industry. Today the number of sensors installed on the equipment of offshore platforms is about 80 thousand. It is expected that these sensors will generate approximately 15 petabytes of data over the forum’s life. The scope of application of the results of the analysis of accumulated data in the oil and gas industry is pervasive, from geological exploration and development to the processing of hydrocarbons. Bringing together big data analytics and business intelligence can help you gain even more insight. The analysis of the accumulated big data makes it possible to obtain reliable forecasts, assess the relationships between various factors, interpret them, and assess risks.
Delivery Optimization Mobile Apps
With the help of mobile applications and based on fuel sales data, companies can optimize supplies between factories, tank farms, and gas station networks. Optimization potential is 10-15% and taking into account economies of scale – about 20%. Today, players in the oil and gas market have begun to include new mobile tools in servicing retail clients actively, and this practice can be integrated into work with corporate clients. Thus, using the application, corporate consumers will control fuel supplies at refineries and reserve the required volumes.