What oil companies CAN do in a volatile market

Amid the uncertainty in the oil and gas market there have been some positive outlooks from organisations like the SPE and World Bank recently that portray a silver lining future. This does not mean the turmoil is over. Indeed, difficult times are still to come, but these organisations look further into the future and acknowledge that those who are willing to seize the moment and commit to change will come out stronger once the crisis is over.

It seems the downward spiral has taken a turn, considering the sentiments during the latest SPE Offshore Europe in Aberdeen were focused on a better future for the industry. Also, the World Bank recently forecasted a steady oil price growth until at least 2025. Certainly, everyone hopes the volatility of the market will steady sooner rather than later, but the industry needs to understand that this will only happen through change: companies that have revised their operations will start to notice the benefits by the end of 2016, according to Moody’s.

While most analysts agree that there will be an upward trend from 2017 onwards, there is little consensus regarding the measures that need to be taken to achieve this. Some companies choose multiple rounds of layoffs, suspend or even cancel new projects, and are looking elsewhere to cut their costs as much as possible; others opt for vertical investments into new markets to get out of the crisis through diversification. Perhaps there is no single solution for all, but standing still is no longer an option.

What many major players do agree on, is that standardising projects and digitising plants is a smart, long-term solution. I strongly believe a digital Control of Work solution can offer tangible operational and management benefits. For example, when multiple sites work with the same software, site performance and processes are standardised and can be distilled into incredibly useful insights into daily business. Additionally, knowledge and lessons learnt can be easily shared. Digital Control of Work also gives management more control to prioritise on the fly and act quickly in case of sudden events, even automating certain high-priority procedures.

At a digital plant, shutdowns can be planned more tightly and cost efficiently. Shift handovers take up less time and all crucial information is continuously shared with relevant stakeholders. From ad-hoc decision making to planning long-term turnarounds, it offers management new capabilities and possibilities that were never conceivable with a paper-based system, keeping up with the momentum of our changing industry.

As PwC notes in their industry perspectives, it is evident that organisations must adjust to the “new reality”. With digital technology simplifying and improving so many things in life, why not apply these same principles to hazardous industries?

What oil companies CAN do in a volatile market