Petrofac Launches Tech Innovation Zone in Aberdeen

Petrofac Cendor Oil Field

Digital technology offers “an enormous opportunity to save money, be a lot more predictable in your delivery and, therefore, make some money for yourselves and for your customers.”

Oilfield services firm Petrofac has created a technology innovation zone in Aberdeen to help take advantage of digital technology’s “enormous potential”.

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, opened the facility, which is described as a uniquely-designed, immersive workspace where clients, suppliers, and technology specialists can collaborate on and new technologies set to revolutionise the oil and gas sector.

They can also experience first-hand the technologies being developed and adapted by Petrofac in collaboration with clients and other parties.

John Pearson, COO, Petrofac’s engineering and production services business, said: “The industry has responded well to cost pressures but to deliver long-term value the whole supply chain must choose to change the way it works.

“Working closely with Accenture and its Industry X.0 practice, we’re harnessing our extensive engineering and operations experience, to develop and deploy technological solutions that boost productivity and deliver sustainable efficiencies.”

He added: “Our new Innovation Zone not only provides a space to demonstrate these technologies, facilitates collaboration on digital solutions with industry-wide application and is powered by Accenture Digital who are providing use cases, digital technologies and consulting expertise.

“Collaboration is worth far more than the sum of its parts, and by working together and combining intelligence we are able to find innovative solutions to industry challenges.”

Mobile, wearable technologies, such as tablets and hard hats with voice-controlled rugged computers attached, were demonstrated at the facility’s opening.

These devices enable offshore workers to access work instructions and seamlessly connect, through hands-free video calls, to office-based subject matter experts, providing real-time over-the-shoulder support. The adoption of such equipment supports fewer offshore vendor trips, offering substantial opportunities for cost reduction.

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Wheelhouse said: “The oil and gas industry has excelled at reducing costs and improving efficiencies in the downturn. The renewed focus on innovation and technology is key to maintaining these efficiencies and that’s why it’s so encouraging to see companies like Petrofac invest in collaboration – that is absolutely something that is needed and it is regularly discussed at the Industry Leadership Group I co-chair.

“Greater cooperation between operators and service companies and wider supply chain is essential to Scotland maintaining its competitiveness in the global oil and gas industry and maximising opportunities as the sector evolves.”

Petrofac has already worked with one of its clients to deploy a dashboard technology. The Petrolytics tool uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict maintenance issues. Results from a recent trial demonstrated that maintenance problems can be identified some 20 days before they occur, enabling more efficient planning and resource allocation, and reducing the potential for unscheduled downtime.

Pearson added: “There is just an enormous potential for redesigning what we do on modern digital principles.

“If you look at how our personal lives have changed massively over the past ten years, and if you look at to what extent our working life has transformed with that same technology being available, it certainly hasn’t kept the pace with the rest of the modern world.

“That’s an enormous opportunity to save money, be a lot more predictable in your delivery and, therefore, make some money for yourselves and for your customers.”

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