The era of the legacy systems is over. People no longer want to rely on paper-based records to update their daily functions. The process is lengthy, time consuming and prone to errors.
For most of the industries, automation and capturing data in real-time is the key differentiator, the oil and gas industry being no exception. Managing of onshore and offshore operations is challenging for the oil and gas companies. Here’s where they can take advantage of mobility solutions to store data in a centralized manner, from where it can be stockpiled, analyzed and sent to those who need it.
Mobile technology fits both upstream and downstream processes and some companies have already released apps to serve the oil and gas industry. These apps are used for various reasons like monitor oil and gas tank levels, manage pipeline pressure, report production emissions etc.
Oil and Gas Industry Statistics
A recent statistical survey shows that the global businesses will spend $168 billion on enterprise mobility solutions by 2016 of which some five per cent of $8 billion will be spent exclusively on oil and gas mobile applications. Thus, mobility in oil and gas has become an enterprise level requirement now.
In a recent survey conducted by Oil and Gas IQ of CIOs in the oil and gas industry, mobile technology was ranked second of the top ten priorities. Even though 55% of respondents felt it would greatly enhance their operations, only 16% have employed a mobility strategy so far. Currently, only 1/3 of the top 50 oil and gas enterprises have apps.
We would look into the major benefits of mobile applications in oil and gas industry:
A) Location Identification
It is very important to keep a track of exact locations of your workers and equipments. So via mobile you can mark down their locations if they are on the drill site. Such app is also useful for workers to locate nearest production engineer if any problem arises.
B) Accurate data capture and gathering
The field staff doesn’t want to carry a pen and paper or laptop whenever they move in the field to record information. Here mobile phones can help in data capture, allowing the workers to concentrate on other tasks. The right mobile solutions replace the paper-based approach with more accurate, error-free data. Workers also can review information in a better way on their mobiles rather than analyze notes written from the field.
C) Monitoring & Reporting becomes easy
The managers of a company are busy and don’t have time to manually schedule projects with the help of paperwork and spreadsheets. Mobility solutions enables them to store, fetch information from anywhere and anytime on their phones. They can also keep an eye on the work done by the workers in the field. This helps them in quick decision making and streamlines the operational processes.
For example, an application can show wells in order of their importance, so laborer’s can organize their tasks better. The workers will know which well or area should be focused first, which will increase worker productivity and efficiency.
D) Collaboration across teams
There are many projects in Oil and gas industry in which large number of people work together from different countries. Workers on the field can face any difficulty at any point of time. So, it is very important to keep collaboration on projects between engineers, operators, and other employees. A mobile application does that exactly through which the employees can connect with each other and share real time information.
E) Provides safe environment for workers
Health, Safety, and Environment issues are prime factors in the oil and gas industry. Mobility solution helps the technicians, maintenance workers to work more safely and productively whether installing new equipment or maintaining, inspecting and repairing existing ones. Workers can easily prepare operations checklists and safety checks by which data entry duplication is avoided.
F) Ease of connectivity
Workers can access information even when they are out of network coverage or gone offline. The data gets synced automatically when they come back in the network area. This way the flow of the process is not stopped and workers get information on time.
There are few challenges, which companies face in order to implement these apps:
Nowadays phishing and hacking is commonplace, a good security system needs to be deployed while using mobility solutions to ensure the protection of data. Organizations will have to scrutinize the risks involved with individual network users.
With the invent of cloud services, data can be on the cloud adding to privacy concerns. It is risky for data to travel on cloud computing services whose servers are located in other legal jurisdictions. This is particularly true on Androids, which are linked with their OS creators.
Energy-based companies usually operate in remote areas. So, the challenge would be to set up a fully functional mobile service model in order to avail the services. Some locations do not have server support at all, so sustaining that would be of prime importance.
The mobility solutions are still at the nascent stage; there are challenges in quantifying its effect on the energy industries. However, new inventions in technology will accelerate the results and provide users with more efficient solutions.