News Article

Digitalization key to evolving industry, says Schlumberger expert

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 16:40

Despite the oil and gas industry’s reputation for being a late adopter of technology, Javier López Vargas, Digital Consultant of Software Integrated Solutions at Schlumberger, told the Mexico Oil & Gas Summit 2019 audience that the adoption of digital technologies and systems can help companies more quickly achieve their goals, as long as this adoption is carried out properly.

López explained that any system can be divided into two separate parts, the control component and the power component. The application of technology is the method of transferring those components from humans to machines, he said during his presentation at the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Digitalization has been key in reducing the need for extensive work teams, thereby reducing costs to companies. “In the Industrial Revolution, we made power from the steam engine. Later, this became the electric motor. This was a significant change and removed human’s need for physical effort,” he explained.

Now, however, digitalization is bringing about the transfer of control to machines too.  “Every system has a control component and a power component. We have already delegated the power component to motors and engines but we are now transferring control to machines,” he said.

In an industry like oil and gas, where data is closely guarded, this can deliver great advantages. “This is a change reflected in the world and, while it can be unnerving, it can also be very positive.”

One of the digitalization trend’s most known tools, the cloud, offers many benefits to companies willing to switch. The cloud makes the balancing of CAPEX and OPEX far easier and can deliver flexibility in mobility via new software like Digital Twins, he said.

However, the digital transformation expert warned that oil and gas companies should understand the problem they are trying to resolve with a system before designing it. López used the example of Renault’s successful F1 victory in 2002 to illustrate how companies should adopt digital systems. “The design team did not just demand more torque or more power. Instead, they found out what they needed to win and designed toward that,” he said.

User friendliness is also key and helps in the uptake of new technologies, said López. A high-level of technical understanding should not be necessary. “Technology adoption is not fostered by incentives but by a good design that makes the transition easier for the user,” he said.