The COVID pandemic heralded a new era for the oil and gas sector with a host of challenges and opportunities to handle supply chain disruptions, heightened time-to-market expectations and ever-changing consumer behaviour.
To discuss ways to accelerate digital transformation for the Oil & Gas sector, Accenture, in association with Moneycontrol and CNBC TV18 hosted an insightful panel discussion under “Masters of Change – Digital Transformation Symposium”. The panel comprised of esteemed guests across the energy sector, including Mr Rahul Tandon, Head, Digital Transformation Officer, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited; Mr Anand Laxshmivarahan, Chief Digital Officer, Vedanta; Mr Manish Grover, Chief General Manager, LPG Strategies, Indian Oil Corporation Limited; Mr Charles Taylor, Industry Innovation Principal Director - Resources, Accenture, and Mr Piyush Patel, Managing Director and Global MOM/MES Lead – Production and Supply Chain, Resources Industry X.0, Accenture.
Accelerating Digital Transformation for the Oil and Gas Sector
Piyush started the discussion with key findings from the Digital Global Trends report, which conclusively pointed towards a positive correlation between digital investments and overall business margins. The report further notes that Digital Transformation (DT) initiatives result in benefits visible across the project, from planning, execution, and maintenance. Keying in the context according to the operating model and business process challenges is important, keeping in view profitability, reliability, and sustainability. This, in turn, would require phase-wise implementation across the business value chain. Piyush noted, "Oil and gas sector is leading the digital adoption space. Data-driven decision making and adoption of digital technologies have been at the forefront of how the energy industry manages its business and operations.”
Anand observed that digital initiatives have a crucial role in optimizing operations and enhancing profitability across an enterprise. These benefits may include increased production volumes, reduced operating costs, and lesser ‘time-to-oil’ duration. He noted, “the National E&P Roadmap talks about an array of technologies that can address significant business opportunities across the Oil and Gas value chain and should be referred for adoption”.
Charles held that digital solutions could enable enterprises to move towards a “net-zero” journey through optimized upstream and downstream businesses and cause a reduction in energy consumption and emissions per barrel. Digital transformation can help enterprises change the energy mix on a real-time basis to achieve their sustainable energy targets. He observed, “Digital solutions will help in net zero journey through supporting extensive and pervasive optimization of upstream and downstream business by improving yields, reducing energy consumption and enhancing reliability".
Rahul enumerated possible areas where digital technologies like drones, cloud, internet of technologies (IoT), blockchain, data lakes, machine learning can make a notable difference, implemented in isolation or combination. These areas include seismic model through cloud portfolio, sub-surface interpretation models and fracture design optimization based on advanced data analytics. He observed, “we are working on reducing the energy intensity in refineries by 20-25% using AI and IoT to cause efficiency improvements through corrective actions”.
On the notable digital initiatives in the downstream sector, Manish noted that IOL’s ePIC initiative enabled end-to-end digitalization across the value chain for all the petroleum products, providing a smooth experience for all stakeholders and building loyalty. He opined, “Through perception management, we are taking the customer feedback for every transaction, and these perceptions flow into our businesses through rewards program personalized for each”.
The panel concluded that digital transformation is a critical element in the energy industry roadmap. These initiatives require agile implementation with user-centricity to ensure hassle-free adoption. Building right skills will be a crucial factor in unleashing the true power of these initiatives for enabling energy transition and creating a sustainable future.