Digital technology key to post COVID-19 recovery: ADIPEC reveals

49958919962 1bd6b2928b cOffshore oil and gas companies should use the COVID-19 pandemic as a springboard for building stronger, more sustainable businesses, using digital technologies to do more with less, and making the industry more exciting for the next generation of talent

Participating in an online ADIPEC Energy Dialogue Webinar, Philip Whittaker, partner and director, oil and gas, at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), said the coronavirus has prompted offshore oil and gas businesses to ask how they can extract greater margins and use technological differentiation to create more stable, less cyclical businesses from their exposure to exploration and production.

Discussing the latest developments and impacts in the oil and gas industry around the offshore verticals, Whittaker said offshore companies had to adapt quickly to the changed working environment that coronavirus creates.

Projects were shut down, crews were withdrawn from offshore platforms, and work was restricted to core production operations. But he added digital technology could accelerate recovery for the sector.

“At BCG, we are having a lot of conversations around, first, responding to the crisis quickly and, secondly, being really ambitious and using the events of the last few weeks as a springboard to create a stronger, really sustainable offshore business in the mid-term,” Whittaker said.

“A great example is one of our clients, working in North Sea operations, which has had to demobilise about 40 per cent of its traditional crew from their platforms but due to the application of wearable technology, digitised remote viewing and remote work planning, they are still able to liquidate 90 per cent of the plant maintenance and integrity activity they have planned.

“So it really starts to drive us towards the use of technology to do more with less, which has to be good for everyone.”

However, Whittaker said, the wider adoption of digital technology across the offshore value chain, would create a recruitment challenge for offshore businesses. “At the moment the sector faces two very distinct talent crisis. The first is the demographic crisis of attracting younger people into what they see as a sunset industry. And the second is around the type of talent required.

“Beyond geoscientists, beyond traditional engineers, we need to attract the data scientists, the digital scientists, those who are leading the digital revolution and to be frank they are very, very mobile. We have to make offshore exciting for them but at the moment what we offer them is a cyclical and insecure environment, so that is going to be a tough job.”

The ADIPEC Energy Dialogue is a series of weekly online thought leadership events created by dmg events, organisers of the annual Abu Dhabi International Exhibition and Conference. Featuring key stakeholders and decision-makers in the oil and gas industry, the dialogues focus on how the industry is evolving and transforming in response to the rapidly changing energy market.

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