More than 230 delegates, speakers and exhibitors from around the world shared views, debated topics and fulfilled business opportunities at the third Future Oil & Gas, a two-day conference and exhibition at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University on 11-12 June 2019.
Under the theme of Exploring Disruption and Digital Innovation, the conference determined that people and skills are just as important as processes in the transformation of the upstream oil and gas sector.
Opening the conference, Alexander Burnett MSP, Aberdeenshire West and Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy said: “Digitalisation is bringing forward a new wave of technologies that will change the way we do business, run operations and in particular the skills required by the workforce.”
Cllr Douglas Lumsden, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “Future Oil & Gas revolves around innovation, which is something that is close to all of our hearts in Aberdeen. We’re a city that has been built on pioneering spirit and I’m proud to say that there’s no sign of that changing.”
Digital Transformation Matthew Astill, CEO of Cavendish Group said: “This event has more than doubled in size from last year, with participants from many different countries. Our ambition is to build Europe’s most important technology focused exhibition for the upstream sector at the world-class TECA events venue, with a series of high-level conferences running alongside.”
Janet White, UK&I Chemicals & Petroleum Industry Leader at IBM said digital technologies will play a substantial part in helping the industry combat its four main challenges – increasing efficiency, accelerating sustainability, meeting customer expectations for new services and bridging the knowledge gap created by the loss of skilled workers over the past five years.
“This next chapter of digital transformation will be driven ‘inside out’ through the core of the enterprise across mission critical processes enabling us to leverage exponential technologies such as AI, blockchain, IoT and 5G with data that was previously hidden and deemed not accessible or available.”
Rodrigo Becerra Mizuno, Chief Information Officer & Corporate Vice-President at Pemex explained how the NOC was digitally transformed in just two and half years following a profitability crisis. “There is a saying that every crisis creates an opportunity. We leveraged that crisis to drive this transformation, to use digital as one of the key forward-looking initiatives to help us become more profitable, more competitive and better positioned.”
There was acknowledgment throughout the conference about workforce fears that digital transformation will lead to job loss.
Chris Rivinus, Digital Transformation Programme Lead at Tullow Oil said: “The best way to move people past the fear of AI is getting them involved in the conversation, in the decisions about digital. They often get excited about how what’s possible today can make their lives just a little bit easier.”
Brendan Sullivan, Chief Technology & Chief Information Officer at RigNet discussed the importance of protecting legacy systems against cyber threats. “Attackers have never had more weapons that now to break in. We are under siege by state-level hackers who have access to million-dollar quantum computers. It is a war.”
The conference also addressed the issue of how far behind other industries the oil and gas sector is in its digital journey and the need for greater collaboration in the industry at all levels.
Dr. Satyam Priyadarshy, Technology Fellow and Chief Data Scientist at Halliburton said: “Hidden features in oil and gas data collected over decades is the cause of capital waste, data waste, and time waste,” he said. “The future of oil and gas cannot afford to continue to grow its capital waste, and time Is ripe to mature the digital journey through talent transformation.”
Running alongside the main Future Oil & Gas conference and exhibition this year was the Technology Innovation Showcase, a series of curated presentations delivered by technology experts including IBM, Blackberry, OPEX Group, Microsoft, Immerse, Electrosonic, Kongsberg Digital and GHGSat. There were also contributions from OGTC’s TechX Pioneer technology accelerator programme and Strathclyde University’s Advanced Forming Research Centre.