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Hart Energy E&P

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The E&P sector is increasingly looking at digital options to boost its performance. The trend is not a new one as it has been playing out for a number of years, but technology is advancing and the uptake of digital tools such as cloud-based analytics have increased recently as E&P companies have pursued cost discipline.

“There has been an accelerated uptake of innovative cloud-based technologies across many oil and gas companies since early 2021,” Fennex Director of Business Strategy Nassima Brown told Hart Energy. “This has been enabled by the high computing power delivered via cloud platforms.”

Cloud-based analytics offer a more efficient option for dealing with the large volumes of data that E&P companies typically generate—and in some cases, still store physically.

“Cloud-based data storage is an excellent way to de-silo and consolidate the mass amounts of data produced by the E&P sector,” said Cognite Chief Information Security Officer Susan Peterson Sturm.

“However, what kind of ‘analytics’ are leveraged in ‘cloud-based analytics’ is key to truly extracting value—for cost discipline or otherwise," she added.

This is the challenge that companies like Cognite and Fennex are trying to address, with both pointing to tangible results for their clients.

Safety focus

Fennex touts its Behavioural Based Safety Solution (BBSS), an automated safety observation program, as being able to save man-hours and costs. Fennex delivered the BBSS to offshore drilling contractor Noble Corp. in 2021.

Brown said the technology, deployed across Noble Drilling’s full fleet of 22 global assets, reduced the company’s overall program cost by 70%, and provided an annual ongoing saving of 15,000 man-hours.

“The cloud-based intuitive platform replaced the traditional time-lagged and paper-based manual processes to deliver an efficient, automated suite with live analytics and transparent dashboards,” she said. “Used as a fundamental base tool for improving a person’s risk awareness, the BBSS solution delivers the operator real-time data, supported by critical safety indicators, leading to quicker decision making to mitigate risks and prevent hazards.” 

Brown also noted that the updated process has additionally reduced Noble’s carbon emissions by eliminating 500,000 paper cards used for reporting each year. This comes against the backdrop of growing momentum for the energy transition, with decarbonization taking on ever greater importance for the oil and gas industry.

“Many leaders are now realizing the full benefits that the digital transformation can bring, and we now find ourselves at a key moment in time, where successful technologies are starting to show real results offshore, if they are given the opportunity,” Brown said.

Exploring possibilities

Cognite, for its part, believes its various solutions and applications represent examples of what is possible when asset-heavy industries make their data “available and meaningful.”

“We offer end-to-end industrial data operations for upstream oil and gas companies,” Peterson Sturm said. “Our Industrial DataOps platform, Cognite Data Fusion, makes traditionally siloed operational, engineering and IT data instantly available across the organization, enabling better decision-making to improve operational performance at scale.”

Cognite works with an ecosystem of partners like Accenture, Microsoft, and Google to offer solutions for everything from intelligent workflow automation to emissions monitoring and reporting, she said.

“With Cognite Data Fusion, a subsurface operation can contextualize reservoir data with well and production data to improve and shorten decision-making processes, minimize risks, reduce costs and enable more efficient collaboration across the upstream oil and gas value chain,” she said.

Peterson Sturm described cloud-based analytics as “one of the foundational tools of digital transformation,” adding that it was digital transformation that Cognite was founded to help the industry with in 2016.

“Since then, we’ve grown into Norway’s first ‘unicorn,’ helping companies like Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, BP, AkerBP, OMV, Var Energi, PGS, Pembina, Ludin Energy, Hess, TotalEnergies, Equinor and more leverage cloud-based analytics and Industrial DataOps to achieve cost savings and other benefits,” she said.

In OMV’s case, the use of Cognite’s solutions is estimated to help it cut planning time by 25% and operating expenses by 50% while reducing OMV’s environmental footprint, according to Cognite.

Meeting new challenges

Yet companies such as Fennex and Cognite must overcome various obstacles as they roll out their services to more customers.

“As with the introduction of any innovation, trust, internal process and cost are often elements which restrict the full implementation of these types of solutions,” Brown said. “Overcoming these can help unlock the potential benefits cloud-based platforms like BBSS can bring. From the beginning, it’s paramount to learn of any blockers and adjust the software to suit the company’s needs.”

Meanwhile, Peterson Sturm cited a lack of digital maturity—which she described as a “measure of an organization’s ability to create value through digitalization”—as a major obstacle.

Assessing digital maturity—which Cognite offers a tool for—and establishing a clear roadmap for digitalization is necessary, according to Peterson Sturm. But the benefit of pursuing digital maturity, she said, is both top- and bottom-line improvement.