This year’s Australasian Oil and Gas (AOG) event in Perth provides a prime platform for the oil and gas industry to shape its future, engaging with our peers and partners to share ideas, innovations and push the boundaries.
We are undoubtedly facing a raft of challenges in this digital age which are redefining the industry’s long held fundamentals. From talent shortages and demographic/skill shifts to workforce safety, environmental protection and community trust; against constant pressures to achieve sustainable growth, whilst running world class operations.
With the industry key to our economy and our nation’s prosperity, oil and gas operators must implement digital technologies to transform performance from Reservoir to Market, at scale.
In tackling these complex and ever evolving challenges, energy companies in Australia must tap into the full power of these disruptive digital technologies – the future is now. It’s time for transformation, or risk losing the golden opportunity we are currently presented with.
We’re bombarded by references to Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, however we must look beyond this to the next revolution – Industry X.0. This is the point where industrial businesses are not just digitally run, but completely reinvented through smart, connected, learning and living technologies. The future oil and gas industry in Australia will be no different and has the opportunity to be a global pioneer.
At the core of this are new advances in digital technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and robotics. When leveraged at scale, combined and fully integrated, oil and gas operators can achieve increased agility, innovation, efficiencies and speed – resulting in a ‘connected workforce’ that is more productive, more engaged and most importantly, achieve an unprecedented level of safety.
A connected oil and gas workforce will be enabled by Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, analytics and wearable technologies to enable workers to undertake tasks more securely and effectively. Sensors and digital connectivity will enable the business to have constant situational awareness of where its people are, what they’re doing, how well they’re doing it, and what environmental and operational risks they face in the often, hazardous working conditions.
This connected workforce will in turn transform maintenance processes, shutdown/turnaround, operations and capital projects, whilst forging a more diverse workforce.
In a real-life context, visualise a drilling engineer on a remote platform, equipped with ‘smart glasses’. This wearable device is powered by AR technology and provides live alerts about the position of the drill bit throughout the drilling sequence, step by step workflow information and a live link to colleagues and experts around the world through voice command. With workers now connected and digitally empowered, there will be a shift in traditional, physical roles, opening up oil and gas jobs to a wider demographic. A more diverse workforce has further benefits – a smarter, more creative, more innovative and more relevant organisation.
During AOG 2019, the message was clear – we are already in the future. These technologies are real, and present. The industry needs to move beyond proofs of concepts and pilots to implement and scale quickly, or the golden opportunity for Australia’s oil and gas industry to be world-leading, will be lost.
Christophe Bourdeau is a Managing Director in Accenture Australia’s Resources practice; and leads Industry X.0 for Resources in Africa & Asia Pacific.