Impact of Changing Energy Asset Landscape on HSE Technology & Information Strategy of Energy Companies – 2015 to 2020

The oil and gas industry is undergoing a transformation right now—both in terms of technology and workforce. This throws up a new set of challenges for these companies and their stakeholders, especially when it comes to safety. Oil and gas companies must ask themselves today: what do all these changes mean for the safety of their processes and workforce?

Before we attempt to answer those questions, let’s take a quick look at the changes themselves:

1. Demographics of workers within oil and gas are changing, as younger workforce takes over.
2. Emerging energy technologies (EETs) bring in hundreds of newer competency sets, and also bring an expanded set of hazards and risks.
3. Data shows that more and more loss of containment incidents in oil & gas sector are related to aging assets.
4. Also, an increasing number of decommissioning commitments are emerging in this decade and next.

In such a scenario, it is imperative for companies in the energy sector to start putting in place, processes, people and technologies to assist in managing this transition from the old to the new. In terms of goals and objectives, these programs should deliver improved safety, and enhanced life of existing assets, lower competency risk through better assurance programs, and zero harm to workers.

Given this, there are four important steps that have the potential to enable oil & gas companies to address these emerging HSE scenarios in this decade and beyond.

ACTION 1: Build a comprehensive competency framework to address wider portfolio of energy assets, and worker competencies and skill.

  • Track competencies and skills of younger and new workforce, and manage the knowledge transition from outgoing talent to the next generation of workers
  • Define the newer skillsets and competencies required for emerging energy technology assets (EETs) such as shale oil, underground gas storage, coal bed methane, and offshore renewables.
  • Work with industry consortiums and associations to bridge and reduce the risk and cost of training & assurance of EETs.

ACTION 2: Bring the enterprise data from various applications into a common repository to leverage the power of insights from existing data for improving safety.

  • Setup data warehouses of HSE and operational data (water quality, well control, SCADA systems, surface and subsurface sensors, environmental sensors and meters, security & surveillance data)
  • Implement a comprehensive data integration framework , so that both big data, ERP data, and transactional information can be accessed using a common information model
  • This is a critical first step before predictive analytics, forecasting, trending, and common central reporting can be done.
  • This will also allow enterprises to write innovative applications on demand (Budgeting, forecasting, simulations, predictive analysis, integrated reporting, alerts and event management) using this common data repository.

ACTION 3: Invest in tools and capability to analyze HSE data and forecast emerging risks, and defuse them before they escalate into catastrophic events

  • Map the hazards and risks due to the upcoming energy assets (EETs).
  • Combat aging asset related incidents by setting up proactive risk management tools and processes.
  • Setup mechanisms to learn from past incidents and incorporating advanced tools to analyze trends and predict emerging HSE risks.
  • Ensuring action plans are implemented and HSE key KPIs are upgraded regularly and reflect industry best practices and benchmarks.
  • Setup predictive data models and tools to help risk managers prepare in advance for emerging or future risks

ACTION 4: Respond to aging plants and assets by preparing for decommissioning related processes, compliances and competencies

  • Setup management systems focused on key elements of operational risk specifically on aging assets, so that these installations are maintained fit for purpose and their life is extended beyond design
  • Plan for systems and processes for managing the many incoming decommissioning projects, in this decade and beyond.
  • These systems should address the wide array of complexities of decommissioning such as multiple vendors, project contracts, environmental SLAs, funding and payments, and regulatory compliances.

The next decade calls for this new foundation of health and safety technology and IT. This foundation would essentially help energy companies to manage this transition from the traditional to the emerging energy assets, with high levels of safety, and with minimum business disruptions.