How Will Digitalization and Big Data Impact the Industry?
Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation and cloud storage should be more than simply buzzwords for the oil and gas industry. Companies are increasingly turning to digital solutions to enhance their performance in safety, efficiency and productivity in an industry facing more and more financial and operational challenges. As Mexico’s petroleum sector moves into a new era funded by foreign and private investment, it has the opportunity to seize the latest in technological advances. But with the potential benefits of digitalization also come risks. Mexico Oil & Gas Review asked a range of industry players for their opinion on how digitalization is shaping the oil and gas sector.
Safety is the main advantage offered by automation in any industrial sector. Without automation, operators need to be present for any kind of job, which in the oil and gas field should be avoided as much as possible due to the dangerous nature of the activities and surroundings. For example, pipeline facilities tend to be remote and in dangerous places. Sending a pair of engineers to travel for four or more hours every time maintenance is required involves danger, cost and time and trying to reduce the last two usually translates into an increased safety risk. Revenue-wise, one of the main advantages of automation is its usefulness as a well integrity tool to increase production, mainly in shale wells where production increases can reach 10 percent. These tools can also be used to increase a well’s lifecycle via monitoring and analysis to detect pressure losses.
If the cloud storage and data management opportunities arising from Mexico’s Energy Reform are truly grasped, the country could become a global leader in this area. Innovations such as glass floors with a complete collection of geographical well data are being pooled, among other revolutionary ideas pitched by industry players. This would collate seismic data and allow users to view the earth’s surface collectively, visualizing each well they are interested in and whether they are vertical or horizontal, for example. The power that viewing all this data at once would give a drilling team is unprecedented. Nowadays, this process is done by large committees, the size of which always introduces human error into the mix. If this process is integrated into one solution, it would be a great step forward
Cloud services and storage are hot topics in the oil and gas industry but none of the big providers such as Google, Microsoft Azure or Amazon offer a truly secure platform for oil and gas companies to host their data. Secure means being able to sign nondisclosure agreements and having the accumulated trust of other oil and gas companies. Net Brains has contacted around 10 ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in Mexico, which are the entities that will host the infrastructure and provide connectivity for companies to host their data. We decided to reach out to these providers in response to the needs of our clients, who no longer want to build their own internet infrastructure or invest in their own software.
Everything is automated now. Staff is no longer required along the process so there are fewer employees working in the plant, just in the control room. New technologies are absorbing the process and eliminating the need for human presence in the industry. We need to adapt all personnel to these new technologies to ensure they remain relevant. We are constantly investing in human resources. Every couple of months we invite international providers to Mexico to train our labor force and share the market’s latest trends.
At the moment Enersoft is brainstorming how to best implement IoT. We believe that IoT will be very important in solving security problems. Technologies allowing cloud connection and data mining have already been developed by Amazon and Microsoft. This is also known as Big Data implementation and allows us to better understand our clients’ behavior. If a company knows how customers consume energy, when they consume it and how much they use it for, then it understands how customers behave, allowing it to improve its business model. Understanding market behavior allows the understanding of customer behavior, which is essential for any company
Honeywell is a global leader in the digital enterprise concept and IoT and Mexico has a lot of opportunity for improvement in the energy sector through cyber-industrial grade automation solutions. ‘The Power of Connected’ is Honeywell’s new branding vision and we believe in that concept. This connected ecosystem, including people, assets, plants, building and homes, is the next disruption in the market, which will enable problem-solving considered impossible before. ‘The Power of Connected’ means taking businesses to a higher level through cloud-based secure connectivity and analytics across industries. We are a company that improves productivity and decreases costs through a range of connected solutions.
Industrial automation creates more efficiency but it also creates risks. Oil and gas operations will become more dependent on the cloud and different types of software, increasing cyber-risks. Marsh Brockman and Schuh has already developed cyber-risk solutions specifically for oil and gas companies, including addressing the danger of malicious intervention in scanning systems. Moreover, we develop solutions for the risk of operational interruption due to cybersecurity failures. At the World Economic Forum 2017 world leaders produced a map showing the main risks the world is facing. One of the main concerns of world leaders is the rise of extreme political views, including protectionism and nationalism, which could lead to more cyberterrorist attacks. Marsh Brockman and Schuh has a group of experts working on these security issues and they are now ramping up their efforts.