Operational excellence (OPEX) is not a new concept in the oil and gas industry but it’s come into much greater focus over the last two years since commodity price volatility drew attention to widespread ineffi­ciencies. They are so widespread, in fact, that it takes more employees and resources to produce one barrel of oil than at any other time over the past 20 years. That may have been acceptable at the peak of the boom period but isn’t any longer; especially when considering the number of aging assets and mature fields across the industry.

OPEX programs are about creating efficient and sustainable operations. They were orig­inally introduced to improve health, safety and environmental (HSE) performance or respond to an HSE incident, but they’ve since evolved to become much more focused on financial and operating performance. When implemented correctly, they can create a com­petitive advantage for companies. Adding the latest digital technologies—to infuse digital across the entire value chain—is the final step to achieving operational excellence.

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