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News Article

The Rise of Digital Oil Fields in the Industry

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 10:54

Moderator: Leonardo Cuneo, Energy Director Of Capgemini 
Panelist: Bruno Lima, Country Manager Mexico and Central America of Halliburton 
Panelist: Victor Oliveros, Business Development Director Mexico for WorleyParsons Group
Panelist: David Vizcarrondo, Commercial Director Mexico of Emerson Automation Solutions

Imagine you are an operator and one of your valve suppliers notifies you they detected an issue with one of your oil rig valves. How much time and resources would it take to determine: how many valves did you purchase in a certain period, where are they exactly located, which ones are under-performing and how long will it take to change them?

This example from Victor Oliveros, Business Development Director Mexico for WorleyParsons Group, illustrates well the challenges and opportunities that digitalization and automatization bring to the table for the oil and gas industry, the point of discussion for the panel, The Rise of Digital Oil Fields in an Increasingly Complex Industry, at the Mexico Oil and Gas Summit 2017 at Mexico City’s Hotel Sheraton María Isabel on Wednesday.

“We would like to highlight the contribution of digital oil fields to efficiency, productivity and security in oil-field production and exploration,” said Leonardo Cuneo, Energy Director of Capgemini and moderator of the discussion. The panel illustrated the valuable insights of major players in the industry: Bruno Lima, Country Manager Mexico and Central America of Halliburton, David Vizcarrondo, Commercial Director Mexico of Emerson Automation Solutions and Oliveros.

“The oil and gas industry is lagging behind industries like defense and automotive,” said Oliveros. “Part of the difficulty of progressing in digital enterprise is showcasing the value of an investment in this segment,” he added. He advised companies to undertake the necessary studies and assessments to determine which digital maturation phase their services and processes are located in.

Industry workforce was at the core of the discussion. Lima was adamant on the issue: “If you integrate your workforce to these automation and digitalization technologies and processes, you get the operational efficiency to simplify decision-making.” “Data horizontalization,” he called it. This strategy also provides companies with diversely qualified professionals, generating workflows that facilitate major decision-making processes. For it to work, Lima asserted that the workforce must be exposed to competence maps to become familiarized with these improvements before they are deployed. In this way, companies can shorten the learning curve for their employees.

A constant objection that translates into a challenge for digitalization and automation service providers comes in obtaining quality data able to generate effective insights for problem solving. Lima asserted that any and every digitalization process needs not just an input, but the correct input. “If your input is wrong, the data generated will reflect those mistakes and lead to the wrong conclusions,” he said. “The process of Artifical Intelligence is driving this process. We have today the capability to offset and benchmark data in such a way that we can analyze whether the scanned input makes sense or not,” he added. Oliveros explained that digital enterprise is built in different stages: “First, you launch a digitalization process for your available information. Then, you collect the data, analyze it and make sure it is sound, reflecting reality.”

Another dominant issue was security. It is well known that the oil and gas industry, particularly in oil rigs. Digital Oil Fields could benefit tremendously in reducing risk factors. “We adapted drones with automatic risk detection systems, interconnected to the drill to warn it from imminent risk”, showcased Lima. What about the personnel? Internet of things can be used as a tool mitigate their risks as well. “Digitalization and automation has an inherent security element as it brings terrain data to the analyst, instead of going for it on site”, Vizcarrondo reminded us.

From the government’s side, the panelists agreed that government must be increasingly involved in this process, drafting regulation in favor of mainstream digitalization and automation, so Mexico’s oil and gas sector can reap the benefits of these technologies, and the companies providing them can have further and deeper outreach, for an efficient, digitalized and secure industry.