How Digital Transformation Is Propelling Operational Excellence in Oil and Gas

Digital Transformation Oil and Gas

Digital transformation plays an impactful role in shaping practices and processes in most industries, including oil and gas. From accurately forecasting the number of incidents to automating administrative tasks related to those incidents and process hazard analyses, the digitization of the oil and gas industry has contributed to worker safety, streamlined EHSQ and compliance processes and nurtured improved safety cultures.

While the oil and gas industry has not been at the forefront of innovation historically, it has, however, retained its position as a leading player in the economy as it continues to be the largest source of energy (in the U.S., it is the #1 source). As the source material for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, it is also used to make products including propane, asphalt and petro-chemical feedstocks as well as heavy and light fuel oil. On top of that, it is also used in producing many consumer products such as garments, accessories and household products, further entrenching its role in the manufacturing landscape. Despite its continued growth, decision makers in this industry have turned to technology and innovation to keep pace with changes in business at a higher level.

How Digital Transformation is Delivering Positive Outcomes for EHSQ Leaders in the Oil and Gas Space

At the strategic level, key oil and gas companies are reworking their digital … strategy to better leverage process automation, wearables, in-field sensors, VR and predictive analytics to help them enhance risk management, drive compliance, make sound data-driven decisions and champion strong safety cultures.

From an operational perspective, the digitization of practices and processes has been proven to:

  • Strengthen safety culture within organizations through machine learning and applying insights derived from data analytics.
  • Drive digital safety transformation by forecasting high level trends and key indicators such as incidence rates.
  • Automate compliance-related administrative tasks including process hazard analysis and permit to work.
  • Provide full visibility to the risks associated with front-line tasks to help boost uptime and productivity.
  • Enhance return-to-work initiatives and reduce the number of COVID-19 cases through data modelling.
  • Improve worker safety by equipping field and front-line employees with connected worker technology and rugged devices.
  • Improve the management of safety practices, observations and inspections through tools designed to work in a virtual environment.

Why Organizations in the Oil and Gas Industry Should Develop a Digital Plan Based on ISO 45001:2018

In terms of developing a tactical plan to drive digital transformation, experts recommend incorporating key requirements found in ISO 45001:2018. This ensures that your plan can be benchmarked against that of other organizations to accurately gauge performance.

Here are some specific applications and benefits:

ISO 45001:2018 (The Requirements for an Effective Occupational Health and Safety Management System):

  • With the increased cooperation between oil-producing countries and oil and gas organizations, the application of this standard to their health and safety practices has helped organizations better manage disruptions in supply chains. From a technology perspective, this is achieved by the use of cloud and quantum computing, digital oil fields, robotics automation, digital twinning and artificial intelligence.

ISO 45001 (Clause 4.1: Understanding the Organization and its Context):

  • This provides a framework with which to apply the PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) analysis to decision making and to help ensure that organizations adhere to international standards of practice. For instance, this will help when investigating and assessing the costs and environmental impacts of new oil sites and when exploring the application of new techniques such as fracking.

ISO 45001 (Clause 6.1.2: Assessment of Risks and Opportunities to the OHSMS):

  • This helps organizations strengthen their risk management plans by serving as the framework with which to develop extensive SWOT analyses to help identify risks (and gaps). By capturing risk-related data, it will feed into risk modelling and forecasting exercises which, in turn, will lead to improved processes and workflows

Applying these frameworks, which align with those found in the Global Reporting Initiative GRI 403, can provide organizations with the roadmap and reporting specifications required to help them build a plan aimed to practice good governance and work towards sustainable development.

For more information on how to develop and apply a sustainability-focused model for the oil and gas industry, please click here.

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