Smart data holds the key to greening energy companies

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Global leaders are on an urgent path towards net zero, acknowledging that the world must slash emissions by 50 per cent within this decade to avert a climate emergency.

Amid this pressured backdrop, the world has collectively undertaken colossal initiatives to decarbonise, including electrification and the increased use of hydrogen to reduce fossil fuel use. By 2050, experts expect renewable power to account for roughly 80 percent of global demand.

In the same vein, the oil and gas industry must redouble its efforts to stay relevant. To reach the lofty emissions goals leaders have set to meet social and political mandates, the world must lean on a combination of efficiency measures, renewable electricity generation techniques, proper distribution infrastructure as well as green fuels like hydrogen, renewable diesel, ethanol, and biofuels.

Solving tomorrow’s challenges today

For fuel producers, adjusting to this shifting landscape demands innovation, precision, and agility driven by quality operational and carbon data management and layers of analytics. In short, fuel producers must use every tool at their disposal – particularly foundational enabling digital technologies – to solve tomorrow’s problems today.

For decades, operational data has been one of the most potent tools by which companies of all industries have optimised their processes, cut costs, and empowered their workforce.

However, as we continue to move from an analogue to a digital world, operational data has become the most important company asset to empower the workforce, underpinning all strategic initiatives including operational excellence and digital transformation. The addition of carbon data management as an extension of environmental data management only amplifies this strategic point.

Decarbonization and profitability are not mutually exclusive

However, not all information is equally useful. To produce actionable intelligence, data must be structured and accessible to those who can best use it, particularly subject matter experts who have the knowledge and experience to put data insights into action – a strategy that’s all the more vital, now that fuel producers must prioritize decarbonization alongside profits.

With our self-serve digital tools that are grounded in solid operational and carbon data management with streaming analytics, events, and notifications with AI-infused intelligence at their disposal, as well as a clear strategy for decarbonisation, oil and gas companies can manage and address these competing interests more easily and effectively.

For the oil and gas industry, which accounts for roughly 9 percent of global green-house gas (GHGs) emissions, the decarbonization path is challenging but not insurmountable. One of the first –and most important – steps for any company in its decarbonization journey is to use operational data intelligence to accelerate traditional energy efficiency efforts, thereby reducing the associated emissions.

Historically, financial concerns motivated companies to optimise their value chains and invest in unified supply chain planning, scheduling, and optimisation. However, given the recent proliferation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, oil and gas companies must now consider the cost of carbon alongside traditional financial concerns. As such, companies must rely more than ever on digital tools to explore windows of opportunity, both financially and in terms of carbon intensity.

AVEVA’s suite of industrial software solutions, built on Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform, supports these goals. Our tools are designed and optimised to connect asset, data, people, sites, systems and processes, offering a holistic and bespoke view of operations that is perfect for digital transformation

The software solutions enable companies to explore consolidated process optimisation models, using real-time data to minimize carbon emissions within their operational and economical constraints. In addition, software that offers a unified supply chain approach can empowers companies to model both financial and carbon-intensity implications.

Evolving with the times

Our industrial software also allows oil and gas companies to explore data from the project phase during operations. The combination of the engineering digital twin, with its associated streaming analytics, events, and notifications, with the operational twin results in a sophisticated, integrated digital twin that empowers teams to make the best decisions. For example, users can see real-time compressor efficiency with head versus flow in real time against the design compressor curve in the engineering digital twin.

In a broader sense, too, companies must also adapt and evolve their business strategies to include decarbonization solutions and services. Many early-adopters of decarbonisation strategies have founded alternative energy divisions within their companies, which are specifically tasked with public-facing ESG.

Oil and gas enterprises must find other ways to reduce their carbon output too. Carbon capture and underground storage (CCUS), or carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), is one of the most rapidly deployable technologies at their disposal, though CCUS is not without its challenges. Whether it’s stored or repurposed for carbonating soft drinks, agriculture, or other myriad uses, carbon dioxide must be purified of contaminants like sulfur and chlorides.

Ultimately, the core of any comprehensive plan to cut carbon emissions must be solid operational and carbon data management combined with smart data insights. Companies should seek to tightly integrate – rather than accumulating new, disparate systems – their data and information management, as well as add more advanced capabilities by diversifying their digital toolset.


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