They are designed to withstand some of the harshest conditions on the planet. They tower hundreds of meters above the water and can be as broad as two football fields goal to goal. Offshore Oil platforms are the extraordinary 'superheroes' of the sea who stoically service the oil and gas supply to their worldwide clients. These gargantuan structures, many with hull weights of more than 10,000 metric tons, indeed are feats of engineering as they endure the full might of wind and sea.
Unyielding and resilient to external forces, the remote offshore platforms seemed almost invincible, but 2020 exposed their 'kryptonite,' a global pandemic. The resultant aftermath saw the lowest utilization numbers since 1955, with figures as low as 26% in the North American Permian Basin.
Operators took the obvious response and quickly cut CAPEX budgets by 20-30% in response to low demand and oversupply. The global Rig demand in the Census period also fell by 82% from its peak in 2014, a devastating drop that would stop the heart of any Oil and Gas Executive.
Recovery from this revenue-ravaging virus will require a prognosis where companies and their facilities remain economically viable. The future of the petrochemical industry is predictable, and finite planet resources limits its lifespan. Pressure on the Fossil fuel industry will increase, whether it is from a pandemic or decarbonization. So, what are the answers to survival and endurance during these coming years?
Companies who design, build, and operate Oil and Gas facilities need to make the obvious alterations to their daily business, such as reducing costs and headcount, increasing efficiency, and maximizing performance without impacting safety. At times like these, expenditure is often unthinkable, but investment in the emerging technology companies, which offer software and hardware to help make those significant and prudent savings possible, is a no-brainer.
As Operators and EPCs (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction companies) strive to create a state-of-the-art, greener, longer-lasting Oil platform, they will face many design and installation challenges. It will experience some of the worst weather conditions our planet can muster throughout the asset's lifespan. This means that the quality of build and accountability is an essential precondition to every construction, primarily as the lives of those living and working there depend on it being safe and as danger-free as possible.
EPCs are engaged by Operators to complete New Builds, Upgrades, and various complicated and challenging projects in some of the world's harshest offshore environments. They both depend on solutions that have demonstrated the capability to deliver reliable information in a digital format. Using the latest technology available now enables leading EPCs to boast an outstanding Service Record in the Energy industry.
Technology that enables EPC's to plan, execute, and commission some of the largest, most innovative, and successful projects in the Oil and Gas industry has been crucial to them remaining commercially competitive. Engaging experienced personnel, embracing new digital processes, utilizing handheld devices, all with the option of Live Data-tracking, means that challenging environments, such as the North Sea, West Africa, Western Australia, and China, all can save time and money while increasing safety.
When managing a full range of field services, including Fabrication, Installation, Hookup, Commissioning, Operations, and Maintenance; access to the reality of what is transpiring and live within the schedule is crucial, regardless of Stakeholder locations.
Major EPCs operate with offices across all continents, allowing them global reach, yet it is the technology that drives the communication and transparency across vast distances. Working with an appropriate DX professional and a tried and tested Construction Project management software ensures that the work is cost-effective, regardless of dispersed locations.
One of the main challenges is maintaining consistent Operational Excellence standards across a range of work fronts. Collaborating with a Solutions provider at every tier of the business results in a higher percentage of success in Project executions and mitigate these challenges.
Global resources are invaluable and are often taken for granted. In 2020, we witnessed that without travel and freedom to move, the ability to information-share on a digital front is imperative, particularly from a Process and an Engineering perspective. Time scales and budgets are notoriously tight, so there is rarely scope for error or delay.
Many EPC companies see the vast opportunities they can achieve by implementing an overall digital strategy. No more paper chasing, improved team productivity, and super-efficient processes all have a net-result where companies deliver confidence to the customer, especially in Offshore projects where costs run much higher.
As the Markets open up again, many will have already realized the drawbacks of not being 4.0 ready and fully embracing Digital Transformation (DX). It has never been a more critical time than now to future-proof with transformational initiatives and digitalize disconnected Project ecosystems.
The Oil and Gas industry still faces a talent crisis as young engineers move towards other sectors that favor their digital savvy ways. 'Rapid disruption' where Next-gen' technology and ideas, being pitched to the Oil and Gas sector by new players, will change the Industry's face and those who work in it.
Owner-operators will be looking at the Vendors they engage with and how they have embraced DX to increase productivity and improve risk management. CAPEX reductions have cast a shadow on Engineering and Construction businesses, with projects canceled or rescheduled. The 'silver lining' to this situation is clear and opportune; businesses must ready themselves rather than take the risk of losing out to competitors who have aggressively sought to continue on their digital journey.
Jon Bell: MODS CEO "I'm proud of the projects we have worked on with our customers utilizing our MODS Industrial Software Solutions. It is so rewarding to be a part of a Project from planning, fabrication and installation through to construction and commissioning for handover. We are genuinely driving Digital transformation forward at all levels within our customer’s business. We are not just Software Solution designers; we have actual, first-hand knowledge and experience of working both onshore and offshore, decades in fact. We know how challenging an environment it can be and are sympathetic of the systems, procedures and associated problems especially when it comes to remote offshore installations.
I spent many years in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and onshore facilities so I am well aware of the personal dangers, never mind the business dangers, of not being fully prepared while engaging in Offshore Projects. We, at MODS, offer a unique combination of Technology and Domain experience to help accelerate digital adoption with our customers and partners”
Want to know more about digital transformation? Go check out our Digital transformation - everything you need to know.