– By Ashish Agarwal
The oil and gas industry has always been one of the early adopters of new developments in technology. The stakeholders have adopted model reservoirs, pipeline and distribution automation, robotics for drilling operations, etc. These advancements have made the extraction of oil and gas once perceived as impossible into reality. The oil and gas industry has played a significant role in the global economic transformation. Having said that, digitalization in the industry is still in its nascence. The innovation in the technology of the industry can be broadly categorised into two buckets, the first about field operations, and the second being the analytics support to optimise the field operations. Even Gartner’s recent research highlights – the oil and gas sector must build on optimizing business performance to unlock new possibilities.
Defining the digital strategy
To create innovative capabilities in the oil and gas industry, the imperative is to understand which business model can lay a solid foundation for digitizing the sector. An article recently published in the Economist about Europe’s energy crisis was alarming, to say the least, and gives a lot of perspective on how India’s model can be shaped. A nation’s application of innovation can be futile if the primary focus does not rely on the self-sustainability of energy, as the current situation in Europe has unnervingly laid out for the world.
Energy companies are aggressively figuring out ways to bring efficiency, sustainability and profitability in digitally driven business models. The onset of the pandemic has already shifted the model stakeholders to accelerate digitalization, and build a robust infrastructure of futuristic technologies to address systematic challenges like affected supply chains or price hikes.
Embedding new-age technologies
Operational efficiencies are critical for oil and gas companies. Integrating technologies have proven to improve margins, optimize workforce productivity and ensure regulatory compliance. New-age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Big Data Analytics are optimising the analytics support side of the equation, reducing the size of our blind spots, and giving new insights as to how to optimise field operations.
Oil and gas companies have prioritised the application of AI in solving complex challenges in overall organizational operations. AI-enabled platforms help stakeholders with insight-driven decisions through predictive and cognitive analytical capabilities. On the other hand, IoT allows stakeholders in minimizing maintenance costs and improve the reliability and efficiency of wells, pipelines and industrial equipment to further maximize the ROI.
The advent of digital oil is a welcome adaptation to the highly physical nature of oil and gas operations. Blockchain’s application is still minimal but has the potential to cause a paradigm shift in verifying contractors, fleet tracking and optimising the supply chain. The intersection of multi-disciplinary technologies and the adoption of the same has a myriad of benefits and the prescience is optimism.
Improving reservoir contact
Advancements in stimulation methods such as Hydraulic Fracturing and other stimulation techniques through Coiled-Tubing and chemical techniques for reservoir production optimisation have helped in tapping reserves to their full potential in addition to refining our understanding of the reservoir. It simplifies the extraction of oil and gas while increasing the production and improving hydrocarbons from the reservoir.
This aspect of innovation in extraction techniques helps the stakeholders to build a cost-efficient, reduced environmental impact and a self-sustainable future. At this point, the aspiration to achieve this model is driving technological developments, and facilitating oil and gas companies to inch closer and closer to bringing that to reality.
With an exponential surge in sustainable and clean energy requirements to serve the developing economy of the nation, Indian oil and gas companies are bringing world-class technology to their service portfolio. This has brought more ease in the inspection processes of offshore rigs and onshore equipment through real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance. The adoption of new-age technologies and advanced stimulation techniques helps stakeholders in addressing emerging challenges in the industry and puts India as a world leader in not only space expeditions but also below-earth expeditions.
(Ashish Agarwal is the CEO & MD of Seros Energy)