Home / ANALYSIS / Roundtable discussion: Digitising assets and operations


Roundtable discussion: Digitising assets and operations

by Robert Willock on Nov 12, 2017


Oil and gas industry stakeholdersmet in Dubai for a roundtable discussion, sponsored by AVEVA, on the topic 'digitising assets: real world problems, virtual solutions', to explore how the promise of digitalisation can be enabled through strategies for assets and their lifecycles.
Oil and gas industry stakeholdersmet in Dubai for a roundtable discussion, sponsored by AVEVA, on the topic 'digitising assets: real world problems, virtual solutions', to explore how the promise of digitalisation can be enabled through strategies for assets and their lifecycles.

Roundtable participants:

  • Rick Standish (RS), VP owner operator strategy, AVEVA (panel chairman)
  • Angie Slavens (AS), managing director, UniverSUL Consulting
  • Aygul Kuptsova (AK), information management coordinator, China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corp (CPECC)
  • Derek Middlemas (DM), chief executive officer, Digatex
  • Min Zhong (MZ), project information manager, China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corp (CPECC)

Focus and priorities

RS: What does digital transformation mean to the oil and gas industry in the Middle East? And where is the current focus and priority for activity in addressing the potential for digital disruption to the industry?

DM: Every time the oil price goes down, companies come up with fantastic views of how they are going to do things differently, and then nothing changes. Rather than having these massive, ambitious targets, people need to embed a culture of digitisation within their business processes from the ground up. It will never be pushed from the top down because of the disjointed way our industry works. One owner-operator (OO) can’t do it because they can’t influence the whole supply chain enough.

MZ: I agree – culture is a big factor in this. Engineering, procurement, and construction contractors (EPCs) have been working in a very document-centric (not digital-centric) way for years, and they don’t see any real benefit from digitisation unless there is a real push from the OOs to force that. For people on the ground doing engineering design work, procurement, it needs to be demonstrated visually. It is hard to completely shake off the information delivered by documents – especially on a site.

DM: You have to have trust in the data. Data needs to be looked after and cared for over the life of the plant.

AS: The low oil prices (and the long-term ‘new normal’) may cause the cultural shift. Previously we have heard a lot of talk but not seen a lot of changes. Now I’m seeing people willing to think outside the box.

People and training

AK: Technology is running ahead of people. A lot of companies have software that their staff are not using, so management must look at training. Software is used to only 20% to 30% – maximum – of its capabilities. And I don’t know why management is not looking at this. They seem to think it is a personal responsibility of staff to develop themselves. The training the software providers give is maybe half a day or a day, but people never get to know everything about the system. They leave the room then forget about it completely. The opportunities for software are huge and we can use them in many ways – and that should help us to execute projects better, but the people who are using it are not trained.

MZ: As information managers, we are trying to push for data-centric ways of doing things. We are talking to engineers and buyers to find out about their day-to-day activities. They don’t care about the concept of digitisation, but they do face real issues in their workplaces that could be improved with data-centric methods. We need to show people what is possible and what can be done more efficiently using technology. Bringing technology into businesses is one thing; being able to maximise it is another matter. 

These products evolve so much and so quickly, but an organisation’s view of those products may fix at the time when they were first introduced, and they won’t know about additional capabilities and features that have been added. Things like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are becoming really useful – it is no longer just sci-fi technology. For example, for conducting site inspections for a plant in Iraq from the UAE. But many EPCs still see that as too far in advance. To support that technology we have to move from being document-centric to data-centric first.

(transcript continues on next page...)


FEATURED COMMENT

Please click here to comment on this article

COMMENTS

Name *
Email *
City
Country
Subject: *
Comments: *


  • LATEST ANALYSIS

NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Email:
ArabianOilandGas Awards
LinkedIn
Utilities middle east
Construction Week Online Middle East
Hotelier Middle East
Arabian Supply Chain Middle East

RELATED ARTICLES


NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Email:
Articles
Companies