The times they are definitely a-changing. Walk into any major operator in Houston, Aberdeen, or Stavanger and you cannot fail to notice that people are working differently and using state-of-the-art technology to produce oil and gas more efficiently. Offices are just not like they used to be.
So what can we expect to see? Surely it’s an office like any other? People do their job, pass the product of their labours on to the next person in the work process and start on the next task. That may have been true a decade ago, but what we have now is most definitely a brave new world. No longer do people work in isolation, following serial work processes. Oil and Gas has caught on to the idea of working in a completely different way. Rather than individual teams closeted away according to their specialism, you are far more likely to see innovative ideas such as:
• Real-time data and information displayed on screens on the walls
• Multiple disciplines working together as a single team
• Live “always on” video links from the headquarters office to the operational locations
• Vendors and service providers supporting operations in real time from remote locations
The Quiet Revolution
This fundamental change in operations support has come about in the last decade, and continues to improve oil and gas processes. Dubbed “the quiet revolution” by Statoil chief executive Helge Lund, it is also known as the Digital OilField, Field of the Future, Integrated Operations, i-Field, or Smart Fields, among other names.
The constant improvement in available technology leads to improved data and information measured in wells, facilities, and pipelines, and this in turn enables a better response to changing operational conditions. By making this data available to everyone in the organization who can add value, it allows running core value-adding processes, such as production optimization, in a “smarter” way, in real or near real time, remotely or across multiple locations, by multi-disciplinary teams. There is a direct correlation between value chain integration and bottom line business value, and this effect is advantageous across an organization.