The petroleum industry is highly essential for augmenting and preserving overall industrial civilization. This industry consists of a wide variety of petroleum products, with gasoline and fuel oil being the largest outputs. With the constant fluctuations in petroleum prices, oil companies need to make sure that they continuously upgrade and innovate to survive successfully in the competitive industry.
Oil and gas companies have to focus on maximizing profits with their present capacities. Each company should start using multiple forms of digital technologies to bring down the operating costs in both upstream and downstream flows of petroleum production. With the help of digitization, oil executives can utilize hydrocarbon resources for optimal output of petroleum at minimal costs.
Research has shown that when petroleum corporations adopt digital strategies for their operations, they are bound to grow extensively in the decades to come. Almost every industry is digitally transforming their operations partly or completely. When an industry invests in technological improvements, it is paving its way towards higher cost-effectiveness, productivity, efficiency, and most importantly, sustainability.
The petroleum industry is spread across almost the entire globe. Oil wells are located across both cities and remote villages in multiple countries. Depending on the location, legislative acts, requirements, demand, and supply of petroleum, exclusive technologies need to be slowly developed for each operation. Let us take a look at how researchers and companies can implement ten unique and innovative ways to boost the petroleum industry extensively:
1. Bring in blockchain to the oil and gas industry
In the oil and gas sector, there is a high information overload. There is so much data without proper coordination. This has resulted in many errors, incorrect financial transactions, a rise in fraudulent transactions, and so on. By bringing in superior quality blockchain, transactions between multiple parties can be documented and recorded accurately for flawless contract maintenance. This will also aid in reducing overall risks, which is absolutely vital in this massive industry. Blockchain in the petroleum industry will also promote transparency in the various activities with the launch of distributive ledger technology.
In the current generation, there is an increasing need for the efficient distribution of petroleum energy. This can be attained over the years only with modern blockchain. It can also bring in peer-to-peer trading of energy and slowly remove the drawbacks that are associated with the traditional norms of energy trading. Blockchain technology will play a significant role in assisting oil companies to unleash their true potential. Purchasing and setting up this technology may be expensive during the initial stages. However, with time, it will get cost-efficient and profitable as well!
2. Build more smart drilling systems
The various oil and gas companies need to start realizing that they need to create smart drilling systems to boost the productivity of oil wells. This can be done only through well-researched planning and testing methods. They need to invest funds in high-quality engineering to decrease time spent on construction as much as possible. Companies will also have to explore directional as well as horizontal drilling to get optimal yields from well bores across the globe. Vertical drilling is slowly being replaced completely by the use of digital mechanisms, which is great news, as it helps in maintaining cost-effectiveness! In order to keep this volatile industry going for many years, smart drilling is highly crucial.
Along with smart drilling systems, companies should also bring in modern software systems, particularly to enhance the functionalities of drilling facilities. These new systems will focus on increasing the life of these facilities.
3. Engage in distribution and marketing through digital means
Over the past few years, oil and gas companies have started to utilize interesting and effective digital strategies to understand the requirements and choices of customers. If this is done on a larger scale, petroleum companies can most certainly enhance their distribution networks. By collecting and analyzing geographic information through digital ways regarding consumer demands and supply chains, oil companies can witness great results. Moreover, supply chains can be managed without hassles when they are digitally enabled. Another very important point to note is that digital transformation in the petroleum industry has increased safety to the next level.
4. Manage reservoir limits through new methods
For oil and gas companies, it is absolutely vital to govern reservoir limits. By implementing digital strategies, these companies can bring down their capital expenditures and simultaneously raise their reservoir limits. In order to increase revenues, companies need to observe reservoirs through more advanced technology. There are certain oil corporations that have started to utilize 4D seismic imaging systems instead of the conventional 3D seismic imaging systems. These systems give a clearer picture of the reservoirs and help in evaluating and forecasting the various fluid changes.
5. Automate production of oil and gas
Oil and gas production needs to be automated across the world. This may be a very big step for many companies. However, it can be done quite efficiently by following a few important guidelines. They include building teams with skilled personnel who have experience in process automation, data maintenance, analytics, etc. Also, companies need to chiefly focus on producing superior quality equipment with automation production control systems in order to have 100 percent safety without any tolerance for physical or environmental hazards. All petroleum companies must have customized shutdown systems to avoid any kind of disastrous incident.
Apart from automation in the petroleum industry, artificial intelligence can soon bring in a fabulous transformation. It can provide great assistance in analyzing patterns, recognizing images, and processing languages too! When automation is done on a large scale, employees of the petroleum sector will not have to perform monotonous operations. There will be technological systems that can perform the same operations without any unwanted errors. Automation and artificial intelligence will accelerate the oil and gas production processes, as data will be stored, and it can be used automatically each time there is a need.
Oil and gas companies have a lot of physical assets that are of high value. The different equipment used for petroleum production is usually enormous, dangerous, and needs regular maintenance. With the help of automated physical asset tracking methods, corporations can track how each asset or machine is used. It can also asses, monitor, and foresee the performance of these assets.
6. Use advanced analytics in the petroleum industry
The numerous operations of the oil and gas sector need to be done with advanced analytics. The upstream process of oil and gas production primarily include exploration of fuel, development, and then production. For a proper exploration of oil, companies should invest in good seismic interpretation and petro-physical analysis. This will help in accurately identifying the oil-bearing layers. For the development and production procedures, reservoir modeling is a great process that can be incorporated by all oil and gas companies. This will include estimating reserves correctly, having real-time feedback, developing extra wells, setting up standby strategies for managing reservoirs, making production forecasts, etc.
Advanced analytics should also be used in the supply management processes of oil and gas corporations. This can be done by automating day-to-day operations for rapid and quality results. Companies can also implement planning analytics for trouble-free operations. The leading industry should also execute capital productivity by setting up skilled teams for planning and applying strategies,and documenting work-flow automation.
Also, companies should execute digital approaches to improve the functionalities of their drilling and production facilities and even shift to a modern software setting to ensure that there is good up-time.
7. Launch preventive maintenance operations
In order to make sure that oil and gas production processes go on without any form of standstill, companies need to invest more in developing preventive maintenance operations. This will increase the reliability of corporations. Some of the preventive maintenance operations include maintenance planning for operations, monitoring the condition of equipment on a regular basis, and developing consistent practices to ensure that the machines do not stop working all of a sudden. This helps immensely in decreasing repairs to be done and equipment downtime too. It also helps in raising the life expectancy of the physical assets, which is highly important to attain cost-effectiveness.
If companies keep spending funds on fixing and repairing equipment, it can affect their costs extensively. Overtime costs will also come down with preventive maintenance. To avoid large-scale repairs, companies need to perform repairs on a regular basis.
Preventive maintenance also assists in enhancing both quality and security of a petroleum company’s operations.
Replacement of machinery in the petroleum industry needs a lot of funds, research, and decision making. The time-consuming process can be avoided for many years if the machinery is checked and fixed systematically. Many are of the opinion that preventive maintenance is extremely expensive and needs a lot of time. However, if it is incorporated by a company in a methodical way, then its advantages will definitely surpass its high costs. It can assist a company in bringing down its overall costs over the years and escalate its revenues as replacement and repair costs get eliminated.
Companies need to invest in drone inspection systems for pipelines exclusively. This is more affordable compared to manual inspections and can be done quicker. Most drones have sensors that can identify pipe leakages accurately. There are certain locations inside pipelines that just cannot be accessed by humans. These drones can inspect such locations and provide precise information. In the oil and gas sector, it is highly crucial to quickly react to any machinery glitches, and this is possible with the help of preventive maintenance.
8. Use disruptive business models
To transform the petroleum industry, companies will have to start incorporating disruptive business models. In such a scenario, a corporation will focus on the drawbacks in the prevailing market and offer a different product that is more economical. With research and surveys, the company can get feedback for the new product from customers and understand their preferences.
With time, it can enter the competitive market and even eliminate the giants from the market. Petroleum companies can also start moving different technological sources in order to minimize costs and attain maximum output. There should be more and more multidisciplinary teams that can collaborate together to handle important activities, such as sales, secondary recovery operations, geoscience activities, reservoir simulation, analysis of large oil discoveries, engineering operations, delivery of oil and gas pipelines, demurrage management, and so on.
9. Promote smart oilfield technology
Smart or intelligent oilfield technology is very helpful to the petroleum industry. It assists in saving energy, time, and money. Under this very new strategy, oil fields are maintained through intelligent management and not just digitization. Companies can utilize artificial intelligence, automatically operated systems and devices, and cloud computing for efficient petroleum production and sales. Scientific research is highly essential for decision making related to oilfields.
With oilfield technology, expert scientific knowledge can be incorporated to make the right decisions related to procuring equipment, digging oil wells, transporting oil pipelines, etc. Smart oilfield technology reduces the interference of humans in diagnostics of oil wells and promotes qualitative surveillance on a field level. It also encourages the cross-validation of evaluations and observations related to petrol production. This has proven to be very effective for increasing dependability as well as the availability of petrol.
This specialized technology covers almost every phase of the petroleum production process that includes checking of oil fields, collection of data, monitoring of petrol pipelines, storage of crude oil, distribution of petrol, etc. The technology facilitates an end-to-end solution for the complete oil and gas production technique. There are big companies that are wholly dedicated to creating and providing intelligent oilfield technology. They handle crucial operations such as moisture maintenance, payload maintenance, voltage control, monitoring of liquid levels, flow rate, temperature, and lots more. One of the drawbacks faced in this technique is collecting remote information from subsurface pumps of oil and gas. Researchers in the field of smart oilfield technology are constantly trying to tackle this problem cost-effectively.
The key components that are required to incorporate smart oilfield technology in an oil corporation include:
- Public internet
- Encryption without a key
- Data collection platforms for the oil field
- Excellent wireless and cable networks
- Cloud-based operating centers
- Oil field data gateway
- Gateways for public access
- Good quality connection on the site
With good coordination and inspection systems, this technology can thoroughly enhance the production, storage, and shipping processes of oil and gas.
10. Modernize decommissioning of rigs
Offshore oil rigs will need to be decommissioned, keeping environmental concerns in mind. Dismantling oil wells and platforms require a lot of time, effort, skill, and planning. Oil companies need to partner with engineers and geoscientists to do precise research and come up with environment-friendly ways to decommission rigs efficiently. It is very complicated to develop decommissioning techniques that are eco-friendly in nature. However, if companies provide all the relevant data to the geoscientists and petro-technical experts, they can most certainly create eco-friendly decommissioning techniques.
Modernized decommissioning will require key services including project management, engineering and planning, regulatory compliance, platform construction, well plugging, removal of conductor, mobilization and demobilization, platform removal, power cable decommissioning, and finally, the disposal of materials. Once these activities are performed, the site gets cleared completely. New-age decommissioning will address health and safety issues that have been associated with the process. In order to do this, companies need to provide the professionals with the right level of authority and freedom to experiment and explore the various ways to come up with sustainable and ecological decommissioning methodologies.
Challenges in the petroleum industry across the world
One of the biggest challenges faced by companies in the petroleum industry is an inconsistency in productivity. Research reveals that many successful oil and gas giants tend to not invest heavily on increasing the efficiency. Instead, they just focus on performing operations routinely, monitor equipment and processes from time to time, and implement shutdowns whenever they are absolutely required. The same strategy should ideally be used by every oil and gas company to be consistently efficient.
There are many remote locations that have rich oil wells. These locations do not have proper access to automated operations or logistics. There is a rising need for companies to focus on these locations and introduce trustworthy automated processes and superior quality equipment to increase efficiency and profits.
Many of the activities in the petroleum industry need to be codified in order to bridge the gap between people retiring from the industry and people being recruited newly. The activities that are done on a regular basis should ideally be codified so that humans are not required to complete every task.
In order to stay competitive and work towards the bigger goal of the petroleum industry, which is to sustain and preserve the fossil fuel at affordable costs, the different governments and oil corporations need to come together. They have to develop technologies and processes to intensify production, increase value, and reduce overall expenses, along with maintaining health and environment standards.