Digital Technology

How emerging technology could transform oil and gas in ME

An analytics solution, created by AI provider SparkCognition, was able to correctly predict 75 per cent of all production-impacting events with an average lead time of eight days. This allowed the operator to maximise their production

 

The oil and gas industry is, in many ways, an inherently volatile one. Prices of oil are governed by complex relationships between a fleet of dynamic variables, including supplies of limited natural resources, international policy, global economic growth, and competition from other energy sectors.

What this means for the industry is that success needs to be tied, above all, to resilient, consistent operations that can survive repeated boom-bust cycles — particularly as experts warn that Opec is currently running low on spare production capacity, leaving the industry without its most crucial buffer against price shocks .

Luckily, there is a wealth of emerging technologies that promise to optimise oil and gas operations, allowing operators to weather downturns and remain profitable. For the Middle East, where oil and gas is such a crucial industry to the overall economy, these technologies are the key to a bright future.

Asset failures and unscheduled downtime have long been the bane of the industry, representing a massive financial drain in repair or replacement costs and an outrageous amount of lost production time. To circumvent this problem, artificial intelligence-powered predictive maintenance has been implemented to astounding success, helping operators keep drilling operations up, running, and prepared for the failure of a critical asset.

Predictive maintenance involves analysing patterns in sensor data to forecast impending asset failures before they occur. This allows companies to perform the needed maintenance on the asset ahead of the failure while the asset is not in use, or to bring in a replacement beforehand if the failure cannot be averted. This capability massively reduces unscheduled downtime, and eliminates extra variables and uncertainties from the drilling process.

In one such case, a major oil platform operator was struggling with bottlenecks in the fluid separation process, resulting in a downtime rate greater than 10 per cent, and millions of dollars in lost production. An analytics solution, created by AI provider SparkCognition, was able to correctly predict 75 per cent of all production-impacting events with an average lead time of eight days. This allowed the operator to maximise their production .

 Similarly, AI analytics can be used to analyse sensor data, generating insights and predictions that can be used to optimise operational efficiency. In another of SparkCognition’s case studies, an automated model building solution created models that predicted workover, rod change, and cleaning needs in oil wells with 70 to 80 per cent accuracy. Additionally, the models analysed production potential for each well, allowing process engineers to prioritise maintenance efforts for more promising wells and maximise returns.

By employing not only AI but also automated model building, the operator was able to benefit from predictive maintenance without needing a dedicated team of data science experts. As valuable as predictive maintenance is to oil and gas operators, it can be difficult to implement due to the amount of time and labor required by manual model creation. The brittle nature of hand-created models is a further challenge addressed by automated model building.

These same technologies have been applied across the entire oil and gas chain, including refineries, gas processing facilities, and LNG trains. AI-based predictive maintenance heavily relies on emerging technologies, making now the crucial window of opportunity for oil and gas operators. Investing in AI will allow operators in the Middle East to stabilise themselves against any coming price drops. Early adopters will accrue substantial advantages, affording them a position of primacy not just in the Middle East, but on the world stage. The whole region stands to be transformed by artificial intelligence applications in oil and gas. Industry leaders who wish to thrive in the future must ensure they are not left behind, says a spokesman.

 




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