How and why we must continue to transform oil and gas as renewable technology continues to grow

Digitalization in the Energy Transition

I think it’s safe to say that 2021 is off to a pretty interesting start. We continue to navigate through the ongoing effects of the pandemic while also working together to tackle new challenges. While we might get COVID-19 under control sometime this year, I think it’s safe to say that the way we operate our businesses will never be the same.

  • Text:Miguel Valdez

Last year, we saw a significant increase in digital initiatives and in industries adapting to revised economic forecasts and models that paint a very different picture for the next 5 years.  In the Energy Industry, specifically Oil and Gas, we began hearing more about the energy transition, the need to drive down cost and optimize energy production, including renewable technologies.

Renewable Growth

This subject seems particularly relevant given the recent events in Texas and in the surrounding areas following a harsh winter storm and widespread power generation issues. Even still, renewables appear to be settling in at their seat at the table, finally disrupting hydrocarbon production just enough to really get noticed, not to mention the customer focus and attention on this space. Paired with growing sustainability initiatives, investment and political backing, the energy industry will not be the same in the future.

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As presented by the graph above from the US EIA, we can see a forecast that demonstrates the potential increase in renewables over the next few years. Interestingly, there is a lot of similarity between the adoption rate of renewables and digitalization initiatives, including digital twins. Both have been around for some time, both have grown rapidly in their capabilities and applications as technology has advanced, and both are experiencing growing implementation footprints as consumers understand and embrace the value they can provide.

As the energy transition continues, increased volatility and rapidly accelerated cycles in oil and gas necessitate the adoption of new, relevant technology to reduce cost, optimize operations and cope with our new COVID world. The world around the industry continues to change, but the technology applied to operations really hasn’t. This is where real digital transformation comes in. This is how we bridge the gap of the energy transition and how we tie the transition to energy production and true optimization.

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There’s just one problem. It seems that not all digitalization initiatives are created equal, and very few have been great success stories. We’ll share a follow-up article soon that focuses on what digitalization success can look like, but for now, it’s important to note that these initiatives should be focused on higher levels of sharing, collaboration and coordination across parties. These aren’t digital projects, these are evergreen, enterprise-wide solutions and should be viewed and managed as such.

For the energy industry moving forward, it’s important to consider what our customers, all the way to the consumer level, are interested in. Much like many of us have choices for our electricity providers, our options for energy production, vehicles and fuel are rapidly changing.  The demand is changing at the consumer level with an increased focus on sustainability. Ask yourself, if there were two fuel stations across the street from one another, and one was a traditional fuel station (as we know today), and the other was also maybe branded as a typical fuel station, but with access to renewable fuel and/or traceably net-zero carbon emissions, which would you choose?

This year’s Annual Energy Outlook from the EIA again suggests that alternative sources of energy will continue to grow over the next few decades. Consumers now have a growing number of options and they are willing to go for more sustainable and smarter solutions.

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There are many reasons that it matter’s what we do right now and how we operate. It really matters that the technology exists to help facilitate the optimization and sustainable future we’ve long sought and it’s in everyone’s best interest that we get it right. We have an unprecedented opportunity to apply these innovative technologies and enable ourselves to make better, data-driven decisions to help facilitate this energy transition.

 

This all happens with the Kognitwin® Energy digital twin, where, beyond visualizing the asset, it facilitates smarter decision making through:

1.       Collaboration, leading to accelerated organizational adoption and digital transformation

2.       More advanced degrees of analytics, i.e. predictive, prescriptive and autonomy

A successful digital solution is difficult to achieve without an associated people strategy. The digital twin needs to be implemented in conjunction with an operating model (people, process and technology) that supports the purpose and vision. Kongsberg Digital proactively work with clients to ensure this integration is achieved throughout the lifecycle of an asset. 

Miguel Valdez is a Growth Manager in the Digital Energy team at Kongsberg Digital. Based in Houston (USA), Miguel has over 10 years experience in the Oil and Gas industry managing aftermarket services in the deepwater oil and gas sector, major subsea capital projects around the globe and strategic business development.