This is the first blog in a four-part series on digital transformation in Oil & Gas. Stay tuned next week for part two on reducing total cost of ownership. Also be sure to look at our previous series on digital transformation in chemicals.
One of the biggest challenges oil & gas companies today face is knowledge retention. An older generation of experienced operators is retiring, taking with them all the knowledge they’ve accumulated over decades. To meet the demands of the market, O&G companies need to continue operating at the same levels of excellence, all while training a new workforce, in an age where training budgets are rapidly being cut. Digital transformation can provide the solution.
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These modern technologies facilitate an operator-specific approach to knowledge retention. This gives the new workforce the tools they need to succeed at their jobs. Here are three main ways to digitize knowledge retention – mobile operator rounds, operator training simulators (OTS) and Augmented Reality.
Companies like Chevron are seeing significant returns when investing in these innovative technologies. When Chevron implemented mobile operator rounds to standardize best practices and digitize knowledge transfer, the company was able to expedite new worker assimilation through mobile learning. In addition, the company saves approximately $3-$5 million annually due to process improvements.
Mobile Operator Rounds
I’ve written before about the benefits that mobile operator rounds provide in terms of best practices enforcement. By providing best practices and digital checklists wherever operators are in the refinery or in the field, mobile operator rounds enable optimized maintenance for improved asset maintenance and management. Mobile operator rounds are also an extremely helpful knowledge retention tool. By capturing process knowledge, mobile operator rounds help expedite new worker training.
Operator Training Simulators
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are far more impactful than older training models for training refinery or field techs. Virtual reality OTS solutions create a fully-immersive 3D environment for optimized learning. These solutions allow new operators to gain standardized, hands-on and effective training on equipment procedures, hazop evaluations and best practices for maintenance planning and execution. VR and AR are uniquely good for training field techs. Innovative companies can integrate control room OTS training for plant operators with VR training. This creates a more immersive training tool that uses VR to accurately model the real world. By deploying these solutions, companies can minimize project risk by preventing delays during plant commissioning and startup. Utilizing these technologies also ensures organizations maximize their return on investment in training.
AR technology has benefits outside of the training room as well. AR facilitates knowledge retention by allowing operators to easily access a fully documented data visualization detailing complete asset and operational data for the entire asset and even refinery. AR can also be combined with mobile technology to allow teams to come together and share insights in virtual settings no matter where they’re physically based. Using AR, an off-site expert can identify next steps and point out issues directly on the screen of an on-site operator, facilitating greater knowledge retention and improving team collaboration.
Digital Transformation of Knowledge Retention
All of these technologies facilitate a larger digital transformation within O&G companies. By facilitating improved knowledge retention, O&G companies can improve asset utilization to drive greater profitability, improve safety and maximize ROI in plant personnel training. Overall, this will help optimize asset and maintenance operations, ease regulatory compliance, minimize unscheduled downtime and achieve consistent production quality.
24 of the top 25 petroleum companies use our digital transformation solutions, and 83% have reported improved knowledge capture and safety. To learn more about the digital transformation in oil & gas, visit our website.