For 47 years the annual Offshore Technology Conference has showcased the latest technologies in the oil and gas industry and the value that it can bring to companies operating in the sector. This year’s show was no different - some truly innovative technologies were displayed last week which focused on increasing efficiencies and ensuring safe operations.
These innovations are the future of the industry. However, they are at risk of being overshadowed by the downturn as companies focus on the financial results of the next quarter as opposed to the longer term view.
I sat in on a presentation that demonstrated the capabilities of activating downhole tools using RFID and therefore eliminating the need for tripping strings multiple times, thus saving the operator nearly three days of operations. This is truly ground-breaking for the industry, and could save operators tens of millions of dollars. However, when quizzed on the uptake of this technology, the presenter was quick to point out that before the downturn things had reached a critical mass and global adoption was inevitable, but ever since the oil price crash the technology was now only being utilised in the most high cost deepwater activity where the expense was ‘justifiable’.
The concept of spending money to save money doesn’t seem to apply in the current climate. Instead of focusing on the initial investment companies should be looking at the overall value that it can bring to the business. But when the industry is demanding lower prices from the entire supply chain how can we encourage the adoption of these technologies?
I presented our track and trace solution, OverVu®, at the Wireless Communication and Radio Frequency Identification Technologies technical session at OTC to discuss efficiency gains from automated tracking in oil and gas supply chains. Deployments to date are proving to our customers that real cost savings and operational efficiencies can be achieved by adopting the technology as it enables more accurate decision making, asset management and cost control.
Once customers start to see the benefits and we can we demonstrate the ROI and quantifiable savings and efficiency gains that the technology can bring, the more other companies are sitting up and taking notice.
So will companies continue to view the latest technology as a “nice to have” for when times are good, or will they invest now as a way forward in the current economic climate, and be stronger as a result?
Hopefully OTC provided the answer.
By Nick Coaton, General Manager Track & Trace Solutions