ABB global energy head on Oil & Gas 4.0

Kevin Kosisko, global managing director of energy industries for ABB, comments on the next steps for digitalisation in the oil and gas sector

ABB, ADIPEC, Oil and Gas 4.0, Digitalisation, Digital
How do companies like ABB fit into wider energy industry trends like sustainability?
We have been really pleased to see the overall theme of [ADIPEC 2019] is Oil & Gas 4.0, which I see as the combination of the energy transition that is taking place, along with Industry 4.0. These are two areas that we have been working on, to provide solutions in these areas, for decades around
 the region. 
When I look at that, I ask, ‘how does digitalisation play a role?’ That has been a key topic at ADIPEC, and looking at some of our solutions and applications from the past, it is clear that we are on a continuum from what used to be individual control of operations, to more connected control, to more collaborative operations and control, on a journey towards autonomous. We certainly do not believe that it is the flipping of a switch, but rather, it is a journey.
We have worked with customers in the past, we have been doing it for about 10 years now, with a collaborative operations set-up with a real-time connection between them and us, so that we can bring our experts together to collaborate, finding new solutions to improve production, early detecting potential issues, improving reliability, reducing the amount of time need to correct issues offshore, for example. 
These are the kinds of solutions, in a collaborative way, that are digital solutions that we have been providing for many years now, that we continue to refine. We believe that those kinds of solutions provide real value to our customers.
If the more collaborative approach is where we are now, what is the next step?
The next step is just moving in that continuum towards autonomous. Another example, we have used digital twin technology, and it is something that is talked about quite often, and is something that our customers are extremely interested in. We have used that sort of technology before, and for example, we brought it in early in the capital greenfield phase, so we could better design the operation and process control, to remove manual steps out of the process.
We were effective in basically removing almost 98% of the steps in a startup sequence, which is really towards autonomous. We think those are the kinds of real applications that we apply, and the real collaborations that we work on with our customers, that drive value and that are moving the industry closer to autonomous operations.
Is the industry aligned on digital transformation, or are there lingering misconceptions?
I think we have seen a lot of alignment around the concept that digitalisation can, and will, provide real value going forward, and is providing value right now. The examples I gave show some areas where we are seeing value from digitalisation right now. 
Clearly, one of the broad themes at ADIPEC, has been around how digitalisation can make a big impact in the industry. We are fully behind that, and I think there is strong alignment in the industry.
There are different paths that some of our clients are taking and some of our partners are taking, but there is clearly a direction, a vision, that I think they all share, and we share that vision also, and we believe it is going to make a big impact in improving operations, improving safety, reducing the carbon intensity going forward, and we are here to work with them on that journey.

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Oil & Gas Middle East - December 2019

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