Juan Carlos Angarita
IMS Global
View from the Top

Learning from Risks to Improve Operations

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 16:51

Q: How does IMS Global help companies in Mexico’s oil and gas industry?

A: We help organizations become stronger and more competitive by incorporating best practices, state-of-the-art technologies and relevant standards related to risks and by applying data engineering to improve performance through knowledge-transfer mechanisms.

This is a very interesting time in the field of data engineering. For example, Baker Hughes and General Electric, BP and Conoco Phillips are all using data engineering to improve their operational efficiency and effectiveness. We are working in a similar fashion to structure improved and high-performance data management systems for the entire oil and gas sector. One example of such a service is data management in oil fields to create an “intelligent” oil and gas field. We can also capture data from different segments — upstream, midstream and downstream — and process that data to generate operational intelligence. In addition, we can model and perform simulations and forecasting, keeping in mind that data is a valuable resource for decision-making. Our core idea is to incorporate analytics related to data that help oil and gas CEOs make better decisions under conditions of uncertainty. This is a new approach that is especially helpful in our energy industry where there is a great deal of uncertainty in different segments of the value chain.

Q: How is data engineering related to IMS Global’s riskmanagement services?

A: Risk, from our point of view, should not be interpreted as only performing isolated integrity or reliability analyses. For us, risk involves the entire organization, all its processes and assets, and the use of different approaches to analyze, treat, measure and control it. Our basic risk management service deals with how to incorporate risk management in all an organization’s processes. Beyond that, we have risk-related services that deal with reliability, integrity, availability, safety, serviceability, maintainability and resilience. Additionally, we have specialized services for fire engineering, corrosion engineering, energy engineering and emergency responses to different events. We also offer functional safety services, which are our most advanced risk-related service. For us, risk is a transversal tool for our client’s entire organization. I also think that it is important to emphasize that risk is not just a technical matter; in reality risk is money.

Q: How do you assess the impact of risk on operations in the oil and gas industry?

A: Risk, defined as the effect of uncertainty on objectives, must be assessed considering the achievement of business objectives and, also, possible consequences on health, integrity and quality of life as well as the environment. Impact analyses are custom-devised to determine potential effects on one asset, several of them, or part of one, and its result in terms of replacements or acquisitions, loss of business opportunities, ends for breach of contracts or legal requirements, how it affects the organizational image, even the suspension or closure of operations. In a similar fashion, probability assessment involves a meticulous review of risk phenomena in the industry, modeling techniques alongside the involvement of deterministic, probabilistic and stochastic approaches. A common mistake here is the use of data, in the calculation of both its probability and consequences, without the support of experts.

Q: How is risk culture changing in Mexico?

A: Our Latin American culture concerning risk and safety is emerging from a shortsighted approach, which resulted in companies not understanding risk as a business factor in their processes and limiting their actions to HSE practices or integrity or reliability evaluations only. Culturally, we have a negative view of risk as something we do not want to think about, but risk awareness is changing. Companies are aware that risk management is needed to improve performance and that risk is related to corporate governance and decision-making. That is the current state. In fact, risk management methods of many companies in Latin America are outdated.