One cannot attend any conference, nor read any company results without hearing how digital technologies will change the way oil and gas companies operate. Presenting its 2018 Technology Outlook, BP noted that: “Digital technology, including sensors, big data and artificial intelligence, is the most significant source of system-wide efficiency improvement.”
Yet amid all the buzzwords, one is often left wondering what these statements mean in practice. InnovOil has of course covered numerous enabling technologies in the past, from smart robotics to machine learning in seismic processing. But taking a much broader strategic view, the real questions for operators are: “What data do you have? What data can you collect? And finally, what can that do for your business?
These opportunities played a starring role at the recent Subsea Valley (SSV) conference in Norway, where several technology providers presented on impressive results achieved through getting to grips with issues like big data. Start-up Solution Seeker, for example, has applied AI and machine learning to process reams of data over years of production from several North Sea fields. Using an optimisation algorithm, its system can then suggest where production control responses such as choke positions, gas lift rates and artificial lift equipment can be altered to achieve better results and reduce unplanned interruptions.
If increased production and better margins are the carrot, there is also a stick. Operators who fail to adapt to this new data-driven environment are likely to be left behind. As Cognizant’s chief strategy officer Malcolm Frank remarked in a press briefing, every business will be affected – and very few businesses can afford to get “Ubered” or “Amazoned.”
Luckily, in this issue we feature several instances of projects emblematic of the potential of these technologies. Having worked together for almost a year, GE and Noble Drilling launched “the world’s first digital drilling vessel” in February. Deployed on the Noble Globetrotter 1, the Digital Rig system is aimed at reducing the driller’s repair and maintenance costs by 20% and enabling it to use data to proactively make better decisions. InnovOil spoke with GE’s Krishna Uppuluri to learn more.
Sticking on the rig theme, we also explore the rise of the so-called “super-spec rigs” driving longer laterals and boosted production in US onshore.
In other engineering news, we take a closer look at the development of Atkins’ Deep Draught Production, Storage and Offloading facility (DDPSO) – a new design which combines elements of FPSOs and SPAR platforms to enable a more cost-effective option for marginal fields.
Beyond we also have autonomous dump trucks, well intervention, 3D printing and technology Pioneers. For all this and more, read on. The team and I are please to present the April issue of InnovOiI.