ABB on the economic value of integrated operations (March 2013)

Information and communications technology from nuclear and power gen leveraged in oil and gas.

A new white paper from ABB investigates the economic impact of ‘fully integrated operations’ (IO). ABB’s John Oyen observes, ‘It’s hard to over-estimate the potential of integrated operations which can change the economics of an oil platform. Many Gulf of Mexico operators have implemented always-on videoconferencing, moving subject matter experts onshore, but this is just the beginning.’

Full IO requires a multi-disciplinary effort and the widespread use of advanced information and communications technology and real-time data. Concepts like ‘smart fields,’ the ‘digital oilfield’ and ‘intelligent energy’ all share the same goal of using ICT and streamlined work processes to improve operational performance. 

ABB’s hitherto unsung foray into IO stems from work with Statoil in deepwater North sea operations. Here ABB leveraged experience of integrated operations gained in the power gen and process industries. These are facing similar challenges to oil and gas such as an aging workforce and a shifting landscape of regulation, safety and environmental issues.

IO means getting people from different disciplines working together in the same software environment, making decisions based on real-time data. While some IO benefits like safety and an work environment don’t lend themselves to a simple cost/benefit analysis, elsewhere the value of IO is significant. Operators of a ‘typical’ 40kbopd North Sea field can expect an ‘average yearly return on investment’ of the order of $33 million*.

* The actual units quoted are ‘$MUSD.’  We are assuming millions.

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