This is a moment like none other for the offshore energy sector and its supply chains. The pressure to dramatically curb carbon emissions ratcheted-up dramatically throughout 2020 and the pressure to do more, faster, continues in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also acted as a catalyst for this accelerated thinking, triggering an oil price upheaval, but also a more existential change in business and societal sentiment that demands a fresh approach. These have been unique times in which energy giants saw their operations come to a standstill, share prices slide, and asset values fall.
It has left today’s decision-makers facing an unenviable set of challenges. With low energy prices, and pressure to reduce GHG emissions, the onus on optimising efficiencies in offshore operations has never been greater. This is where the real asset provided by the digital era can come into its own – data. It will be operators that embrace the power of accurate, timely and actionable data that make the best decisions on navigating the next-normal. But how exactly to do this?
Is digitalisation a silver bullet?
We are in an era rich in data. Yet, we are also at a digital crossroads where mismatched approaches and fragmented data utilisation is stunting the offshore sector, just as it looks to recalibrate its business models, extend asset lifespan, and protect its margins.
Remarkably, many are still using manual, traditional processes such as whiteboards and excel sheets for data management. Those who have taken the next step of capturing data on the performance of their assets are in a better position, but still often fail to turn these into actionable insights, due to poor quality data, the segregation of this data into separate, disconnected silos, or the sheer volume of information.
Opsealog’s experience in the offshore logistics sector has shed light on the true power of data. Working closely with some of the world’s leading Energy Major operators, we have enabled them to build a data-driven picture of offshore support vessel performance. This real-time visibility of their fleet informs decision-making over operational patterns and vessel deployment in order to improve performance, cut fuel consumption, and reduce GHG emissions in a way that is verified and measurable.
Across the global fleet of over 470 vessels that we track and support, our “efficiency as a service” solutions have already delivered 90,000 tonnes of CO2 savings to date.
However, digital solutions are not a silver bullet. To become a success, the offshore sector needs to embrace a digital culture at every level. From the boardroom to the rig, digital transformation requires a long-term commitment, expertise, and a grounded approach that targets measurable metrics in support of operational and environmental performance gains.
It is also important that data insights empower human decision-making. The digital transformation only succeeds when everyone, offshore and onshore, understands the importance of the data and buys into the process. This requires training and education, as well as digital leaders to support its adoption and deployment. It is vital that they understand the true purpose; that all parties can glean the benefits, make better decisions, and create more value.
How fleet monitoring can unlock operational efficiencies
Of course, some will worry that it will be too expensive, too time-intensive, and provide too little value for money; yet digitalisation does not need to be costly or time-consuming. A lot can be achieved with the data assets that offshore providers already have, or easily obtain, just by combining data from a range of sources into one single interface.
Opsealog’s partnership with an affiliate of a leading energy major illustrates this perfectly. We worked with them to build a new solution to support their fleet monitoring operations. Their fleet of crew boats suffered from low-quality AIS tracking and poor connectivity. A lack of data and inaccurate reporting prevented the affiliate from having a clear overview of their vessel operations and inhibited decision-making.
The affiliate was able to find other data sources that would complement their fragmented AIS data and build greater data redundancy. We then used our Marinsights service to process, integrate, and visualise this data in a way that delivered a single interface and a clear, real-time picture of the fleet. This has given them the accurate, timely, and actionable information it needs to optimise the utilisation of these vessels, cutting their fuel consumption and reducing their emissions, as well as generating specific cost control reports.
These technologies can enable operators to operate with a degree of agility that has become the new normal during the pandemic, particularly when travel restrictions came into force. This included a European-based customer of ours that was able to manage their offshore support fleet in Nigeria just as effectively, despite being thousands of miles away.
Efficient and sustainable course forward
Today’s offshore oil and gas operators, including support logistics, face unprecedented challenges. Digitalisation and data insights can enable these businesses to make positive, proactive decisions that will enable them to not just survive today’s turbulence, but to plot a more efficient and sustainable course forwards in this fast-changing market.
Digitalisation is a journey that requires commitment, but the benefits that can be unlocked in cost and carbon savings, safety benefits and performance gains are profound. But just “digitalising it” isn’t enough. Building a digital culture and understanding how to extract what you need from your data is the key to smarter decision making.
French Entrepreneur and Former Merchant Marine Captain, Arnaud Dianoux has over 10 years of experience in the Marine Offshore field in multiple regions, including India, China, West Africa, and the Black Sea. After pursuing an MBA degree in France and Singapore, he started working on Fuel Management topics before focusing on improving global offshore operations’ efficiency using data analytics and performance management. His passion for Data and his Maritime experience have inspired Arnaud to found Opsealog. A company that helps energy clients generate savings by optimising Marine Offshore Operations.