According to McKinsey, improving maintenance and field operations could generate up to $37 billion of value for the global industry’s upstream operations over the next nine years.
Research and case studies documenting the solid payback from digital field operations aren’t new but with the oil and gas industry facing a supply shock combined with an unprecedented demand drop and mounting pressure to reduce carbon emissions – this could be a catalyst moment.
More and more companies are implementing field operations technology to improve communications, streamline maintenance and compliance management. But just as the shift is gaining momentum, producers are realizing the potential obstacles to adoption. Technology projects can drive a wedge between head office and the field especially when operations teams are being asked to do more with less workers.
As part of his Digital Oil and Gas interview series, Geoffrey Cann is interviewing EZ Ops CEO and former operations manager, Brandon Ambrose, to talk about the Oilfield Worker of the Future. The conversation will dig in on lessons from producers on how to engage operations teams to get adoption and impact including reduced OPEX, better production and certain compliance. Learn more at www.ezops.ca/futureoilfield.
Why are digital field operations a worthwhile focus right now?
It’s timely to focus on digital field operations now for two reasons: field operations for most companies have become too inefficient, and the return on investment in field operations technology and operating by exception is now well documented and compelling.
Demands on operations teams have grown too complex to manage
While oil and gas producers have always relied on well run, cost-effective operations for performance, the complexity of demands on operations teams have piled up just as there are fewer people on staff.
Field teams face more and more one-off requirements from head office for field data for new corporate reports or compliance tracking. Now, there’s a patchwork of data coming from specialized solutions for single tasks such as pump off controllers for oil wells, digital chart reading solutions, and leak detection for high-risk pipeline segments. This results in multiple, disparate solutions that all have their own logins and in many cases, duplicates the data entry work for field teams.
With emails, spreadsheet tracking and phone calls on top, field operators that used to have some capacity to take proactive steps at cost-saving or boosting production are now caught up in extremely reactive work. To make efficiency gains in field operations, workers need to be able to use their time differently and have tools to properly synthesize information, prioritize field activities and cut the duplicate data work and drive time.
Efficiency gains from digital field operations are known to be worth millions
Operating costs are the biggest controllable cost for the industry – in many cases, OPEX can be higher than all of G&A, interest expense, royalties, and transportation costs combined.
Data from field operations technology provider, EZ Ops who serves 10% of Canadian producers shows their customers routinely reduce OPEX 15% or more by going digital in the field. That reduction has an impact on oil and gas project economics that is equivalent to increasing the wellhead price by $1 per barrel.
Beyond OPEX savings the impact of field operations technology is often measured in terms of certain environmental compliance, major reductions in operations team drive time, and hours of daily time savings in administration which frees them to fully apply their expertise to running efficient, productive fields.
How and where to begin with digital field operations
Geoffrey Cann is interviewing EZ Ops CEO and former operations manager, Brandon Ambrose, about the Oilfield Worker of the Future. Learn how to get technology adoption right in the field for the biggest wins in OPEX reduction and production gains. Join the 30-min conversation.
Brandon Ambrose founded EZ Ops after his own frustrations trying to efficiently manage field operations. He’ll talk about how to engage field teams in choosing technology and the importance of delivering quick wins to the field frontline in a technology rollout.
Learn more at www.ezops.ca/futureoilfield.