The Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC)—one of the world’s leading oil and gas events—took place between 12th and 15th of November, welcoming the industry’s top executives, key energy ministers and influencers, and thousands of exhibiting companies.
Delegates, exhibitors, and attendees had the chance to see the latest technological developments and offerings and take part in dozens of sessions discussing oil and gas markets, advanced technologies, energy transition, energy challenges, and digitalisation in energy.
ADIPEC 2018 attracted 2,200 exhibiting companies from 67 countries, including 27 national oil companies (NOCs) and 15 international oil companies (IOCs). More than 145,000 attendees visited the four-day event where 161 conference sessions took place, with 980 expert speakers and 10,400 conference delegates. ADIPEC also featured twenty nine exhibiting country pavilions, including a Scotland pavilion and a UK pavilion.
The oil and gas industry’s top executives and decision makers shared their views on how the energy sector has evolved over the past few years and what’s in store for the global oil, gas, and renewable energy industries in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The oil and gas industry will be a critical enabler of economic growth in the digital age, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), said in his opening keynote address at ADIPEC.
“We are at the cusp of a new age of opportunity for our industry - an era where digital innovation is delivering unprecedented levels of progress,” Al Jaber said.
“Our industry must step up to enable this massive step change in global development. In short, this mission can be given a simple name – Oil and Gas 4.0,” ADNOC’s chief executive added.
In today’s digital age, partnerships among companies are keys to collaboration and innovation, executives at some of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world said at a Global Business Leaders session.
“Oil and gas is very unusual in terms of partnerships because we are competing but also partners in various projects around the world,” said Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive at BP.
“The fourth industrial revolution is coming so fast and we have to work together for things like standardisation and developing more models of working with suppliers. Climate change is another area to respond with partnership,” Dudley noted.
The fourth industrial revolution and digitalisation in energy were key themes at ADIPEC this year. Top executives and energy advisors discussed the role of Big Data, data analytics, the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), robotics, smart systems and sensors, and artificial intelligence (AI) in oil and gas assets and operations. The energy industry, considered not long ago notoriously slow to adapt to changes, is now increasingly using advanced technologies and digitalisation techniques such as the digital oilfield and digital twins to improve efficiency, reduce downtime, and increase people’s safety.
AI, Big Data, and blockchain have the power to transform the oil and gas industry, the world’s first AI minister, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, said in his keynote address at ADIPEC.
The right implementation of these technologies can help boost efficiency and gains, the minister said, noting that the industry can use “everything from data and AI to drones to improve decision making and sustainability.”
Executives at the world’s leading oil and gas companies, oilfield service providers, and technology companies also shared their viewpoints on the benefits of digitalisation in the industry.
“If we are to thrive in the future, we need to not only embrace but champion and evolve technologies such as AI and open our minds to consider the ‘what-ifs’ in 2030 and beyond,” said Abdulmunim Al Kindy, ADNOC Upstream Director and Chairman of ADNOC Digital Transformation.
The industry needs to change the mindset and view digitalisation as a strategy, not just a plug-and-play solution, according to Arif Mahmood, Executive Vice President and CEO Downstream at Petronas.
“We talk about digitalisation as just a tool you can just plug in and make things happen, but digital strategy is very much the business strategy. Eventually it has to be a norm in the way of working. The leaders need to take charge, immerse themselves into this new space, set clear directions, make the commitment, take the risk and lead it,” Mahmood said.
Data analytics and cloud computing help energy companies resolve issues more quickly by reducing the time to figure out how to solve problems, according to Binu Mathew, Senior VP for Digital Products, Baker Hughes, a GE company.
The discussion in the oil and gas industry has moved in just 18 months from feasibility and applying digitisation to how to drive adoption and scale, said Tracey Countryman, Global Resources Industry X.0 Lead Managing Director at Accenture. Yet, driving scale is “fundamentally at its infancy for this industry,” she noted.
Digitalisation is also one of the keys for operators in the North Sea to remain competitive, experts said at the Offshore and Marine Global Business Leaders Sessions at ADIPEC.
UK and Norwegian companies have led the world in developing deepwater technologies, Neil Gordon, CEO of Subsea UK, said. Cost reduction and increased efficiency has made North Sea oil and gas attractive to international investors again, Gordon noted.
Digitalisation will be essential for the long-term viability of offshore operations, according to Hege Kverneland, Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at National Oilwell Varco.
“Automation of things like drilling can be done and improve efficiency,” Kverneland said.
In light of its key themes, ADIPEC 2018 also awarded companies and projects for technological and digital breakthroughs.
8 Rivers, NET Power, McDermott, and Exelon won the ‘Breakthrough technological project of the year’ award for their Clean Energy Production Technology, a Low-Cost Cornerstone for a Climate Friendly O&G Industry.
Saudi Aramco won the award ‘Outstanding project of the year for driving performance and efficiency’ for its world-first 3D dispersed source array seismic acquisition.
BP Oman won the ‘Digital transformation project of the year’ award for Transforming the Khazzan Giant Gas Field: Machine Learning to Optimise Production.
The evolution of digital twins in subsea operations - By Alan Whooley, Subsea Manager, Wood