How Automation and Integration (A&I) affects the future Upstream Oil and Gas market?

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Automation and Integration (A&I) of processes and different systems is in high demand within upstream oil & gas industry.

What is Automation and Integration?

 There is a lot of focus in either automation or integration or both on assets and processes for upstream industries to optimize the operations. Looking at the present scenario of the upstream industry A&I is being explored in every step from planning to production.

Why do you think why there is a need Automation and Integration for Oil and Gas market?

Let’s look at a few examples where A & I can be useful. In almost 100% of exploration activities historical data is used for the reference irrespective of sophisticated techniques and cutting-edge technologies in use for the exploration and production activities. Collating the information (historical data) from different sources is challenging as well as time consuming. These efforts can be minimized by the help of A & I. In the drilling site operations such as mechanical drilling or real-time monitoring of drilling, logging or production etc. all the processes are based on different technologies, need different instructions to start, stop or to continue the equipment and acquire the data in different formats. However, all these operations are inter-related in a complex way, so are very slow and need a lot of human intervention and expert judgement. Many of these processes can be optimized by A&I.

For years, these inefficiencies were tolerated because of the relatively high operating margins that could be achieved. However, times have changed. The prices of oil have gone south and most likely we will not see $100 a barrel for a long time. The higher costs of production from complex and more challenging reservoirs, and unavailability of resources, have placed a sense of urgency within the upstream industry to look for opportunities for A&I. Keeping this in mind, many leading oil & gas organizations in the world have started focusing on the development of strategic management system for the asset integration and automation consisting of specialized expertise, resources, methodologies and tools to assist production and process to manage the integrity of their infrastructure, facilities, and equipment.

Within upstream operations several equipment, applications and databases need to be inter-connected to centralize the information and also need to be self-driven to reduce the effort and time.

What are the current Challenges in Automation and Integration of Upstream?

In upstream critical business processes the rig operations have the highest numbers of challenges, because on rigs all the decisions are taken instantly based on the real time data from multiple applications as well as from the data stored in to different databases. The challenges of mechanical drilling operations, real-time monitoring and analysis of drilling, logging or production, asset management, field resources management, and maintenance can be addressed by A&I. A lot of researches are going on for the complete automation of the drilling process; up to certain extent drilling has been automated, but not fully. Several companies who have adopted automated drilling techniques are saving millions by utilizing the minimum resources and equipment. In real-time monitoring and analysis of drilling, logging or production, several parameters are continuously monitored.

There are several challenges in using the emerging set of A & I applications as most of the applications in use are from the different vendors and their formats and standards are different. For asset management many applications such as AssetView, SAP or Maximo, etc. are available in the market, but these applications need customizations to enhance the efficiency of these applications. To manage the field resources, different applications meant for the management of different resources are integrated with connectors and automated for activities. There is a need of an application that can keep the track of regular maintenance information of rigs. As of today, most of this information is maintained in the excel sheets or other different tools and databases. These tools and databases are integrated to centralize the information and automated for sending notifications regarding updates on regular maintenance at single rig or multiple rig platforms.

Advantages of Automation & Integration in Upstream

Several complex processes become simple after applying A &I such as drilling operations, real-time monitoring of production and assets, field force management, analysis of data in real-time, efforts to rebut false reporting, report generation, sending notifications, alarms, alerts, data management etc. The ultimate aim of A &I is to reduce the cost involved in operations and enhancement in efficiency. Some of the key benefits are:

•        Improves equipment reliability, availability and maintainability.

•        Promotes more efficient use of expert personnel know-how.

•        Enables facilities managers to optimize spares inventory and plan replacements in order to minimize disruption to production.

•        Improves personnel safety and performance and tracking the proper use of equipment.

•        Ensures compliance with corporate and industry regulation and legislation.

•        Provides deeper insights into assets condition, aid maintenance planning and optimize inspection costs.

•        Increases efficiency of asset management, in- turn improving the bottom line.

Take away point:

The role of IT vendors in A &I of different upstream business process is to develop connecters to connect different applications or databases and their automation.

Utilizing its past experience of working on several A &I projects for upstream industries, we have developed the Automated and Integration solutions for rig maintenance management and Field Force Automation for field resources management, which is centralizes the whole rig maintenance information across the company and sends updates and reminder about the services.

Field force automation is a mobile application for capturing time, travel and leaves, other expenses, work scope and technical documents while providing collaboration with customer facing managers, engineers and customers and enable field engineers to manage outages, timesheets, primavera task and documents, which eliminates the need to work no multiple different applications and databases.

The use of both applications is worth in today’s volatile global marketplace.

Let us know how we can help you to automate and Integrate Oil and Gas’s Upstream market.

Thanks to Sushant Rastogi for his contribution

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