Oil & Gas Industry News Wrap – March 2018

In this month’s PPM Oil & Gas Industry News Wrap, we take a look at recent developments in the global offshore sector. It’s pleasing to see some signs of recovery after four very challenging years following 2014’s oil price crisis.

Also this month:

  • Shell takes the lead in responsible decommissioning
  • How the world’s most innovative country is leading the way for the shipbuilding industry
  • Woodside trials robot safety inspectors

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Safety first in offshore oil recovery

With the recovery of the global oil price, we are seeing more investment in unconventional drilling expeditions and explorers are once again testing the waters in their search for oil.

According to Bloomberg, those who slashed budgets and canceled risky drilling projects when the market crashed are again “venturing onto the high seas to prospect for crude”, including off the coasts of Norway, the U.K. and Canada.

The offshore rig market was one of the biggest losers during the downturn but with prices improving, so is business confidence within the oil and gas industry.

While this is encouraging news for energy majors, it is also a timely reminder that owners and contractors involved in offshore exploration projects need to be ever mindful of the regulations around health and safety, structural integrity and environmental management.

It is a fact that robust safety processes, environmental management systems and asset integrity are no longer an optional extra, but a prerequisite to retain licenses to operate and secure safe, reliable production at lowest sustainable cost.  

An effective program requires a holistic and integrated approach and is only as good as its weakest link. Your technology partner must work to ensure your process and systems meet stringent regulatory requirements.

"Safety, environment and asset management a priority in global search for offshore oil and gas" (Click to Tweet!)

Offshore decommissioning done right by Shell

With a number of offshore oil platforms scheduled to come offline in the next two years, Shell is leading the way in responsible decommissioning by transforming its Gulf of Mexico Cougar platform into an artificial reef.

Once one of Shell’s most prolific oil platforms – producing more than 31 million barrels of oil equivalent over nearly two decades – Cougar has now been earmarked as the future home to a variety of marine life.

The company has donated the platform steel frame, or jacket, to the Louisiana artificial reef platform, as well as US$619,000 to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department to help maintain and monitor the reef.

The project involved a specially-designed vessel to lift and move the nearly 350-foot tall and 3,000-ton jacket approximately 50 miles through open water, where it was successfully positioned as an artificial reef.

Earlier, the same heavy-lift vessel safely removed the Cougar topside and deck, placing it on a barge for transport back to shore for cleaning and recycling or disposal.

Cougar is Shell’s last fixed-leg platform in the Gulf. It will now be restored to create a marine playground that will give divers and fisherman joy for years to come.

Shell is one of PPM’s longest standing customers and we are incredibly proud of the company’s efforts in developing a responsible, ecological and environmentally friendly solution to the environmental challenges associated with decommissioned rigs in our oceans.

"Shell offshore platform transformed to artificial reef, home to Gulf of Mexico marine environment for years to come" (Click to Tweet!)

Samsung leads the way for Korean innovation

South Korea has topped the list of the most innovative countries in the world, according to Bloomberg’s Innovation Index 2018.

The index covers everything from the concentration of tech companies to the number of science and engineering graduates. It also highlighted South Korea’s position as the economy where companies filed the most patents in 2017.

Bloomberg, which compiles the index based on data from sources such as the World Bank, IMF and OECD, credits South Korea’s top ranking to the Samsung Group.

The ranking does not come as a surprise and reflects the innovation of our customers in South Korea.

In 2017, Mitsui O.S.K Lines, Ltd. (MOL) launched the Triumph, which was the world’s largest containership at the time and the first to surpass 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), a subsidiary of the Samsung Group and  one of Korea’s “Big Four” shipbuilders, used PPM’s Intergraph Smart 3D to design the MOL Triumph.

SHI has enjoyed the benefits of Smart 3D since 2004, recording schedule reductions of up to three months on major shipbuilding projects.

"Congratulations to Samsung Heavy Industries as South Korea tops list of world’s most innovative countries" (Click to Tweet!)

Woodside trials Oil and Gas industry robotics

CIO reported that Woodside Energy continues to be a pioneer of the Oil and Gas industry’s new digital age.

The Australian energy giant has started trials of semi-autonomous robots to patrol and inspect parts of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations.

The first trial, using a quad-wheel robot with several remotely-controlled arms and sensors, took place late last year at the Pluto LNG facility, 190kms off Karratha, Western Australia.

With more trials planned for 2018, this project complements Woodside Energy’s five-year trial of humanoid robots on loan from NASA, with the aim of showing they can replace people on its older manned offshore gas platforms.

This is one example of how these new technologies are expected to cause widespread disruption in the global energy industry. Industry leaders understand that organizations need to adapt to ensure resilience against disruption but are grappling with the challenges of the new digital era.

While some workers may be fearful of replacement, we expect that most companies will retrain or upskill the existing workforce to engage in more value-adding activities. Robots and machines can be trained in repetitive tasks, but have limited capacity to perform complex situational analyses, informed by human experience and domain knowledge.

Robots to patrol Woodside Energy Pluto LNG facility in a digital data first (Click to Tweet!)

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