Digitalising the Energy Industry
The digital revolution has affected all industries, including oil and gas engineering. Although there was initial reluctance for the industry to introduce new technologies, the digital oil field concept is helping to develop new efficiencies in companies, as well as improving safety for staff. Offshore drilling rigs, shale platforms and refineries are becoming more digitalised as old-fashioned analogue systems are being side-lined.
One of the primary benefits to the digitalisation of the industry is improved high-speed communication using sensors. Workers are now effectively able to monitor thousands of pieces of offshore equipment from onshore control centres, with the help of advanced monitoring and control systems. Digital technology is revolutionising nearly every aspect of operations, from modelling, to drilling, to maintenance. Risks of process faults and failures can be minimised and production efficiency maximised through new technologies. The condition of each piece of equipment can be measured and maintenance needs can be predicted. A recent analysis by McKinsey & Company revealed a 40% ‘performance gap’ between companies that have highly digitalised operations and those that don’t, showing the benefits of these new technologies for oil and gas engineering companies.
Gradually, areas across the world are adopting the digital approach for improved productivity. Complex offshore operations in Western Europe and North America, representing 27% of the Digital Oilfield market, have quickly adopted technologies. The Middle East is catching up and is expected to be the fastest growing market during the next decade with an annual growth rate of 5.9%. Whilst increased productivity benefits the company, the use of technology benefits oil and gas employees by having better managed operations and a safer environment to monitor equipment.
Oil companies are constantly looking at options to improve safety for oil field workers, in turn to boost performance and immediate response to the market. All in all, the use of technology benefits both the company in productivity and workers in a safer environment and efficiency. Companies adopting a digital work model are on the rise, according to a report by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the “digitalisation of oil fields and the potential development of onshore shale would open up new opportunities for talent development in the sector”. The report states that new oil and gas job opportunities are predicted to increase with the “proportion of the workforce supporting overseas projects outside of the UKCS likely to increase from 26% to 35% between 2014 and 2019, as global capital expenditure is forecast to rise”.
The positive benefits of new technologies are changing oil and gas employment for the better. If you’re seeking a new role in this continuously evolving industry, browse our latest engineering vacancies and apply here.