Innovative technology, concepts and modes of operation are being adopted at a rapid pace by companies in the petroleum sector. The aim is to secure more effective work processes, replace manual work, improve analyses and contribute to better decisions.

“Digitalisation is about both technology and organisation,” explains Linn Iren Vestly Bergh, who leads the PSA’s follow-up of these advances by the industry.

“Examples include robotisation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, use of Big Data, real-time sharing and closer integration of systems.

“Digitalisation isn’t only about changes to work processes in your own organisation, but also involves the implementation of new forms of collaboration and business models.”

Attention

Close attention is being paid by the PSA to the digitalisation wave in the industry, and to ensuring that these innovations contribute to improved safety, says Bergh.

“The companies have ambitious plans to increase the use of digital technology across the whole value chain, and digitalisation offers clear positive benefits.”

“But these can only be reaped if we can rely on the technology being secure and the risk being manageable within the regulatory framework.”

New solutions create more complex and integrated infrastructures and systems – and will mean changes to the way the petroleum industry works.

“Solid expertise combined with good understanding and thorough assessment of risk are essential here,” Bergh notes, and says that digitalisation is not only about money, rationalisation and making operations more efficient.

The companies are duty-bound to ensure that work in this area also yields a safety gain both for the working environment and for major accident risk, she says.

“They must ensure continuous development of and improvement to safety in all phases of their operations, and we expect them to set specific and binding goals for how new technology and solutions will help to increase safety.

“General formulations aren’t enough. Safety isn’t a benefit, a side effect or something thrown in for good measure. It’s an outcome you achieve through purposeful commitment.”

Development

The PSA is paying special attention in 2019 to activities related to the development and implementation of digital technology and changes to work processes and forms of collaboration.

Audits are planned on the adoption and conduct of automated drilling operations, portable technology and the use of digital solutions in maintenance.

“We’ll be looking particularly at the interface between decision support tools and human and organisational conditions,” says Bergh.

“We will also follow up company plans for ensuring prudent change processes, and the way workers are involved and looked after.

“Digitalisation increases requirements for data quality, base data, information-sharing across organisations, new collaboration models, education and training, and mutual adaptation of work processes and technology.”

Dialogue article

This article has been taken from our Dialogue journal, which aims to encourage debate on some of the most relevant issues and challenges faced by the industry in the safety area.

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