These certainly aren’t easy or conventional times to be working in the offshore energy industry. Market conditions to be volatile, but with operating margins under sustained downward pressure. At the same time, suppliers are struggling to keep up with new regulations designed to protect the environment, not their profit margins. During this challenging period, innovation is integral to ensuring future success. Data has the potential to transform maritime within this carbon and cost-conscious context.Read more
Transforming data into action
ACROSS A GLOBAL FLEET OF 400+ TRACKED VESSELS, OPSEALOG HAS ALREADY HELPED TO DELIVER 80,000T OF CO2 SAVINGS
The wake of a tumultuous 2020 has left behind a new and fast-changing set of challenges facing oil & gas industry leaders. In an era of already slim operating margins, the ability to find efficiencies in the oil & gas market has only been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the industry and society at large are demanding a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions. The pandemic, and the change in sentiment it has triggered, has ensured that strategies for the oil & gas market are now under continuous scrutiny. This has shone the spotlight on both upstream and downstream traditional energy markets, and their relative value and asset longevity when compared to low or zero-carbon alternative energy sources, including offshore renewables. An energy transition is inevitable. We have already seen a slump in the value of asset values and share prices of traditional energy companies to a point where far lesser-known renewable energy companies have greater capitalisation values than traditional energy majors.
The question becomes how best to navigate this energy transition and dampen the impact of market volatility. Not just to survive, but to build a mid-long term operating strategy that can thrive in this new era. This starts and ends with focusing on operational efficiencies that can protect margins and allow finite assets to operate profitably for longer, while complying with emissions regulations, reducing their environmental impact, and creating a pathway to a more sustainable future. As it happens, one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal is ready and wating. The digital revolution has given us access to data on an unprecedented scale. But although digitalisation offers huge potential, just digitalising your operations is not enough. It’s not just the data, it’s what you do with it that counts. So how can operators turn their data into meaningful insights to reduce costs, cut carbon, protect margins, and improve performance?
Lessons from offshore logistics
The offshore logistics sector offers valuable lessons for how this can be achieved. Opsealog works with a wide range of exploration and production (E&P) companies, including energy majors, national oil companies and regional operators, translating their data into actionable intelligence about the utilisation of their offshore support vessels. Through what Opsealog describes as ‘efficiency as a service’, this data enables real-time visibility of their vessels to improve performance, cut fuel consumption and reduce carbon and other emissions. Across a global fleet of 400+ vessels tracked, we have already helped to deliver 80,000t of CO2 savings. In 2019, this equated to a 10% reduction in emissions from changes in the operational behaviour of these vessels by our E&P customers. We also believe an additional 5-10% reduction can be achieved through further optimisation initiatives.
One of the first challenges for any organisation wanting a better picture of their operations is to understand their existing data tools. Many operators already have access to data that can be highly valuable, such as weather data, flow meter data and positioning data, but are not yet taking advantage of it. Opsealog’s partnership with an affiliate of a leading energy major is a good example of this. The affiliate had a feet of crew boats in West Africa that suffered from low-quality AIS tracking and poor connectivity. This lack of data and inaccurate reporting prevented the affiliate from having a clear overview of their vessel operations. We worked with them to find other data sources to complement their fragmented AIS data and build greater data redundancy.
Breaking down data siloes
We live in a data-rich era, but there is little benefit if this data is siloed. The offshore sector is at a digital crossroads where fragmented data and incompatible platforms prevent operators from seeing the full picture; clouded in some cases not by a lack of data, but by the sheer volume of it. Working with that same affiliate in West Africa, we used our Marinsights service to process, integrate, and visualise their data in a way that delivered a single interface and a clear, real-time picture of their feet. This has given them the accurate insights they need to optimise the utilisation of these vessels by cutting their fuel consumption and reducing their emissions. When talking about digital insights, a premium is often placed on ‘real time’ reporting, and rightly so, particularly compared to a legacy of daily, weekly, or even less frequent reporting. But it is important that your data platform also enables you to take a step back to see the bigger picture. We work collaboratively with our clients through this process, asking the right questions and recommending the most effective way to visualise their data to build a turnkey solution that meets their specific operational needs.
Building a digital culture
For any IT project to succeed, culture maters just as much as hardware or software. Persuading your team to do things differently is the challenge of building a digital culture. It requires buy-in at every level, from the boardroom to the quayside, the rig, and the vessel. Above all, everyone needs to understand ‘the why’. If they can recognise the value in driving up performance standards, reducing costs and cutting carbon, as well as how it can empower each of them in their roles, the likelihood of a successful deployment of your digital tools will be far greater. Oil & gas operators can also learn from the offshore renewables sector. In our experience, the renewables sector is more digitally minded than their counterparts in oil & gas. In addition, perhaps because of the higher start-up costs facing renewables, they are better attuned to the need to operate to the highest levels of efficiency. Finally, as a younger sector with less of an ‘analogue legacy’ to overcome, they have been more willing to embrace the use of data when it comes to the opportunities in the fast-growing renewables market.
The COVID-19 pandemic
If there is any silver lining to the pandemic, it is that even those reluctant about digital adoption have taken important steps in this direction. As travel restrictions and home working became the norm for many of us, we instead leaned on digital and remote working technologies. This provided a degree of agility that surprised many, as data-driven technology proved its value as an aid to decision-making, even at a distance. For example, a customer that was grounded in Europe due to the travel ban was able to manage their offshore feet in Nigeria just as effectively. Digitalisation is a journey that takes time, but there are important gains that can be secured quickly. Particularly for the oil industry, good data management can provide immediate insights to protect the oil margin and ensure that operations remain profitable, even in a tough market. It has been said that ‘data is the new oil’. One thing that is certainly true is that the smart use of data in improving operational efficiencies has a vital role to play in helping offshore operations meet the increasing demands placed upon them, delivering profitability, extending asset life, increasing asset value, while complying with carbon and other emissions’ regulations.
It’s not just the data, it’s what you do with it that counts.
Publication: Offshore Industry
Author: Arnaud Dianoux, CEO and Co‐Founder, Opsealog
Source: Offshore Industry/Yellow & Finch Publishers – click here to access the original article.