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Comment: Digital oilfields the key regional business driver

by Guest on Nov 12, 2017


Abdulaziz AlDuaij is the chief information officer at Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC).
Abdulaziz AlDuaij is the chief information officer at Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC).

In the face of rebounding oil demand in 2017, Middle East oil and gas firms realise that rising to the top requires a new way of thinking, and of doing business. Upstream and downstream firms are replacing traditional, time-consuming processes with the latest technology.

Delivering this digital transformation takes courage, and the Middle East – in particular Kuwait – is at the heart of the energy sector’s global digital transformation.

As the global economy rebounds, we’re seeing an increasing demand for oil – which a report by OPEC shows will grow by 1.27mn barrels per day (BPD) in 2017. Kuwait’s energy firms are leading the charge, as OPEC figures show oil and gas counts for 95% of the country’s export revenue and 60% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

At the same time, with strong competition, only the most innovative oil and gas firms will rise to the top – by enhancing production and refining, delivering cleaner fuel, and expanding export markets. Digital, cloud-based technologies are proving to be the foundation for new levels of business competitiveness.

The concept of digital oilfields is not new, but what is rapidly changing is the amount of data being generated by digital oilfields. Emerging innovative technologies such as drones that can monitor sites, and robots that can conduct underwater repairs, are seeing strong interest in the Middle East.

While chief information officers (CIOs) are identifying digital oilfields as a key priority, most Middle East oil and gas firms face two major challenges in delivering on this goal. One challenge is that organisations need to have courageous C-suite executives who can adopt the latest technologies; another is the change management and talent upskilling that is required to ensure all staff are on board with the digital transformation.

Digital drives KNPC

From the outset, Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has been dedicated to being an early adopter of innovation, and to supporting the economic growth of Kuwait – maximising the value of Kuwaiti hydrocarbons through domestic and international refining, petrochemical, and marketing digital transformation is a priority for the company.

KNPC is committed to driving long-term, value-adding relationships that support growth and enhance operational excellence, empowering ‘agents of change’, who have the skills and power to stimulate change and create an agile, transparent, and successful organisation.

Increasingly in oil and gas companies across the Middle East, and worldwide, the role of agents of change is falling to the CIOs, who are tasked with breaking down organisational silos, developing long-term digital transformation strategies with vendors and channel partners, and bringing the whole organisation on board with new digital strategies that prioritise the mobile user experience.

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