Digital transformation in the oil and gas industry

The oil and gas industry is entering a new energy era

Existing market dynamics and challenges are forcing a massive change in the industry’s approach to technology for each segment – upstream, midstream and downstream. The future of the industry lies with the full digitalization of the chain and the use of knowledge gleaned from connected devices for real-time optimization of processes and operations.

The current digital era is about turning the data made possible through the information era into action, increasing both the speed and quality of decision-making. Digitally connected assets can significantly reduce costs, shorten schedules and minimize risk. ABB has embraced all aspects of electrical, instrumentation, automation and telecoms, being one of the only major players able to help customers achieve completely integrated and digital performance-enhancing solutions. In fact, we’ve demonstrated time and again our ability to deliver 20 to 30 percent CAPEX and OPEX savings while simultaneously improving uptime and extending asset lifetimes by 20 years.

Through our ABB Ability™ offerings we provide a combination of products, systems and services that are digital and seamlessly connected, all bringing added value to our customers. For the oil and gas sector, we offer a number of solutions including production optimization, plant performance solutions and services, power and asset management, remote and condition monitoring, predictive analytics, intelligent project execution, and safety and alarm management applications.

In essence, ABB Ability solutions for oil and gas provide a digital platform that collects engineering data from sensors across all phases of work and traditional siloes, and then analyzes the information to enable real-time decision-making for operation and maintenance teams.

We offer predictive analytics and maintenance by providing access to our analytics engine and global experts, who assemble and help synthesize data from disparate systems into one dashboard that can help customers collaborate across locations and disciplines on safety, alarm, control loop, cyber security and rotating equipment support.

The ABB Collaborative Support Network saves time by providing easy access to ABB experts around the world. Remote access translates into reduced travel time and requirements, as well as into reduced commission time. It keeps production running while also reducing downtime. More importantly, it enables continuous improvement and efficient decision making.

As we develop technologies for the future of this industry, our digital solutions for subsea power and automation allow oil and gas exploration to go further and deeper than ever before. While doing this, the technology helps customers reduce operational and capital expenditures as well as maintenance and operational costs. Our technologies enable the transmission of up to 100 MW of power via one cable over distances up to 600 kilometers from shore and power equipment at depths of up to 3,000 meters. Our digital solutions also provide process controls that communicate with, and automate, the equipment operating on the seabed.

Oil and gas facilities operate within strict environmental and safety regulations, and when operations approach the limits of these, both risk and cost increase.  ABB Ability offers a condition monitoring system that monitors the health status of assets, which can identify potential problems as early as possible.

Today’s large facilities can involve hundreds of thousands of I/O points and hundreds of miles of pipeline. They might operate over distances measured in thousands of miles. So, reacting to problems can be difficult, for example assessing the situation, and then designing and delivering a solution. Knowing issues sooner, and delivering fixes quicker, can provide a real competitive advantage. ABB Ability solutions offer a safe, reliable power, communications and control infrastructure that can provide centralized maintenance and operations control across the entire upstream and midstream infrastructure.

ABB Ability solutions turn data into insights and ultimately into action in the physical world, thus providing improved operations and productivity for oil and gas customers. This has been demonstrated time and again to deliver 30 percent OPEX savings, lowered commissioning costs by 50 percent, extended asset lifetime and minimized safety incidents.

For more information on how digitalization will help oil and gas companies thrive during challenging times, download here.

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About the author

Per-Erik Holsten

I lead ABB’s Business Unit for oil, gas and chemicals in the Industrial Automation division. I started my career in ABB in 1986 as an engineer and has managed businesses of various sizes, most recently as Local Division Manager for Process Automation and Local Business Unit Manager for Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals in Norway. I am married with three children. When I’m not working or spending time with my family, I enjoy making music, attending music festivals and running.
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