Database technology to drive energy transition, can attract $1.5trn investment

By Emmanuel Macaulay, Texas

 

Stakeholders in the global oil and gas industry have identified the deployment of big data as a recipe for sustainability and efficiency in the oil and gas industry.

They also stressed the need for integration of different digitalization technologies and platforms, adding that it is key to the transformation of the oil and gas industry.

The application of this strategy, they stated, would lead to the investments of about $1.5trillion into operations in the sector.

This was the highlight of a panel session tagged: “Big Data and Digital Transformation in Oil and Gas” at the just concluded Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), held in Houston, Texas, U. S. A.

Emphasizing the role of technology as a major driver in the operations of the sector, Specialist Subsea Systems & Digitalization for Aker Solutions, Maria Bulakh, stated that investors demand ESG agendas from oil companies, increased efficiencies and lower carbon footprints.

“Data integration and digitalization will enable the betterment of all industrial processes; adjust executions, and enable greater and faster returns. Also, through the use of data, an operator can unlock new focus areas and take decisions; however, only seven percent of oil executives have realized the huge potential from Big Data.

“Big Data connects workers, integrates the value chain; also integrates and enhances design, which in turn delivers faster and greater efficiencies, both in operations and in financials. Big Data must be seen as a new asset and not a second-hand obligation.”

On his part, Head, WorldWide Business Development Energy, Amazon Web Services, Arno Van Den Haak, stated that his company has had some success story on technology upgrade especially with their partnerships with Lightsource bp.

He said, “This technology could double the gains of an oilfield, if implemented from scratch.”
However, he noted that the oil and gas industry was still lagging in regards to Big Data adoption. adding that “In fact, it has a $1,5 trillion opportunity for that matter.”

Also speaking, Vice President of Yutime Petroleum, John Boot, noted that the technology upgrade should be integrated through all the phases of development of project and not just into individual phases.

He said, “Digital needs to be fully integrated to the project; from design building, operations and maintenance, and so on. Through this, we create a virtuous cycle that delivers gains in all aspects of the asset.”

Showcasing some of the solutions that his company has deployed like a 4D simulation software that creates a digital twin of the asset and enabling predictions on all of its aspects, he said, “about 20 percent of all the energy usage in the construction of a project can be saved from the start with these kinds of solutions. Also, robotics, artificial intelligence and other tech are also part of the Big Data package.”

Regions differ on approach to technology devt

Meanwhile, operators and expert in the Nigeria’s petroleum industry, have called for more proactive approach in developing the sector.
Reiterating the need to begin these processes now, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, said “I think all this will still take sometime. It is the future no doubt but we will need some major technological breakthroughs to make it happen quickly.
“Yes, we have a long way and unless there is major technology breakthrough. Allow electric cars to have batteries that have same mileage as cars.”

Also speaking, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Professorial Chair in Oil and Gas Economics and Management, Institute for Oil and Gas Studies, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, Prof. Omowumi Iledare, said: “Certainly, it is possible to have AI do most of the things in the future. That AI and Big Data future coming to reality is not equally defined for each region of the world neither could it be dictated on the basis of the self interest of another region.

“However, it is equally true that pursuing low carbon energy future is not conjectural. The speed of transition cannot equally be imposed on energy in poor country with low quality of life. There must be some inclusiveness in the strategic deliberation that is far from dictatorship because of wealth.
“Nigeria must have a strategic thinking approach to what is good for its people in the energy transition debate.

They must put together a knowledgeable team to address the optimal strategy to follow. That advice goes for all emerging economies. Linearization of models that work for developed economies will be foolhardy.
“I hasten to advise low income economies with a lot of hydrocarbon resources to remain strategic in this regard. Talk the energy transition talk but walk the talk without allowing aids and grants to drive your economic slavery to energy colonisation.”

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