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Oil services, operators adopt 'all for one' thinking in evolving digital world


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Oil services, operators adopt 'all for one' thinking in evolving digital world

Oilfield operators and service companies are embracing a new policy of working with partners to leverage shared resources in order to adapt, survive and thrive in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive market.

Digitalization is changing the way companies explore and produce oil and natural gas, but to maximize efforts, partners must learn to coordinate information in an "one for all, and all for one" environment, according to industry leaders participating in Halliburton Co.'s LIFE2018 conference in Houston on Aug. 20-23.

Halliburton executive vice president Eric Carre said because of constantly evolving challenges, the industry keeps pushing the envelope of technology and innovation. Coming out of one of the deepest price downturns in the history of the business, the industry continues to focus on returns, cash flows and efficiency, he said. This is driving an increasingly competitive landscape for both operators and service companies.

"To remain competitive in this environment, it is necessary to start thinking beyond traditional engineering improvement. Among others, we have to do a much better job of learning from other industries as well as from emerging digital technology," Carre said. Halliburton uses digital technology to help the company achieve its goals of reducing variability, reducing uncertainty and accelerating innovation, he said.

In addition, Halliburton is one of 12 founding members of the Openeath Community, which is bringing together scientists, engineers and software developers in oil and gas companies to expedite, and lower the cost of, digital innovation for the entire industry.

Numerous industry experts during the two-day general session offered real-world examples of how digitalization is helping companies move away from a traditional industry "command and control" environment, and adapt, innovate, survive and thrive within the new world of digitalization and shared information.

Aker BP ASA a maritime-focused oil equipment and services provider, uses digital technology and tools to transform business practices, CEO Karl Hersvik said Aug. 21. He said the company's business strategy focuses on executing, improving and growing with the end goal of producing oil below a total cost of $7 per barrel and a breakeven of $25/bbl with all costs included. Digitalization helps them achieve their goals on all three levels, Hersvik said.

Brazilian state-run energy giant Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. - Petrobras this year added to its business plan an additional digital transformation strategic initiative to transform the way the company delivers results and creates value, general manager of digital transformation Augusto Borella said. Already boasting improvements in safety and test reliability, the initiative will also be used to teach and train its workforce to achieve results in terms of digital transformation, Borella said.

To make change successful in the new digital world, where a company must adapt to changes that can come quickly and frequently, the company must first identify the problem, according to Shaun Gregory, executive vice president of exploration and chief technical officer at Australian producer Woodside Energy Ltd. The company must then structure the technology to "think big, protype small and scale first," he said

In addition, the construct of a digital strategy has to support augmented work strategy, Anadarko Petroleum Corp.'s vice president of advanced analytics and emerging technologies Sanjay Paranji added. It does not work in isolation, he said. It has to be specifically targeted and drive step change.

However, making the connection between digital and human interaction is what is ultimately important, said Thijs Rademaker, senior director for customer experience at Halliburton Landmark, the company's software and solutions business.

At the core, the story of digitalization will be how technology will give us new degrees of freedom, how through technology we can communicate with each other on a global scale, and if the digital society does emerge, how do we relate to those digital technologies, according to Frank Buytendijk, a research vice president and fellow at Gartner, a research and advisory firm.

Buytendijk said that digitalization is the blend of the virtual world with the physical world, rooted in the idea that the user no longer exists. "People are their technology," he said.

While Buytendijk concluded that digitalization is not just a business, Microsoft Corp.'s corporate vice president of human resources Sue Bevington said that perhaps the most important topic in the framework of digital transformation is culture.

On its own journey to develop a corporate culture Microsoft adopted an "Us" mindset, abandoning the "Me vs Them" mindset that stifled creativity and innovation within the company, Bevington said. Once adopted, the company had to believe and work toward the change.

Microsoft learned that culture has to be paired with a mission, a need to evolve. But while defining the future it must still honor its past, Bevington said. Within the cultural transformation people need to be empowered and the culture needs to become who you are, she said. The culture must be communicated, and technology must be used to accelerate the change. Finally, everyone must be on the same page and must be committed to the course, Bevington said.