Showing posts with label process optimisation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label process optimisation. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

The challenge of producing more industrially with less

Last week The Oilholic had a hectic, but fruitful and amazing trip to AVEVA World 2023 in San Francisco. Much of the discussion at the event was about one profound question - how to do more with less for the energy and industrials complex, and finding answers via the deployment of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), industrial internet of things (IIoT), digital twins and enhanced data analytics. 

From the standpoint of the hosts - industrial software solutions and consulting firm AVEVA - the pathway forward is all about creating a connected industrial ecosystem. One that offers a gateway to an unlimited world of data analytics, including third party analytics, with everything focused on one key priority - how to efficiently, safely and diligently improve throughput whilst using less energy and resources.

AVEVA's corporate take goes along the lines of "working to build a new industrial ecosystem, defined by agility, resilience and sustainability. By connecting [clients'] teams with trusted information and insights, powered by the cloud, and finding new ways to deliver life’s essentials – while driving responsible use of the world’s resources."

You deploy solutions to do that, and by default you lower your carbon footprint - a mantra this blogger saw repeated often by the company executives from the exhibition floor to the main auditorium, from keynotes to panel discussions, and much else in between. 

While AVEVA's age-old business mainstay may well have been in the oil and gas business, today it provides software solutions for most segments of the global commerce and industry all of which are under pressure to lower their carbon footprint. In keeping with this, the event had several breakout streams and content on a range of subjects. 

These included sessions for process industries (chemicals, pulp and paper, manufacturing, etc.), infrastructure, power and utilities, and of course oil, gas and energy. Each of these touched on advanced solutions and practices for improving efficiencies and finding that low to zero carbon horizon. And if numbers are your thing, we're talking more than a dozen industry tracks, keynotes, and an immersive expo.

There was also plenty of chatter on deriving multifaceted value from AI, and viewing it as an ally or enabler rather than a threat. Both AVEVA and its customers, including the likes of Mitsubishi Power, Yinson and Henkel, appeared to be pretty candid about the constructive deployment of AI. Read more about it in The Oilholic's latest Forbes post here

In summation, to quote AVEVA CEO Caspar Herzberg (pictured here at an analysts' briefing on October 25, seated third from left): "The true benefits go beyond the numbers: connected digital insight and technologies enable you to turn volatility into commercial opportunity by transforming industrial production into digital insights, so you can boost efficiency, resilience, and sustainable impact, and realize your boldest aspirations."

Part of being bold or having bold aspirations - especially for the energy, oil and gas sector - is embracing the technological solutions of our age provided by the likes of AVEVA, and of course, its peers. Going by the interest AVEVA's software products suite generated in San Francisco and the number of energy players in town, The Oilholic reckons that the message is cutting through big time. Well that's all for now folks. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'!

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To email: journalist_gsharma@yahoo.co.uk  

© Gaurav Sharma 2023. Photo 1: AVEVA logo at the AVEVA World 2023 Conference, Moscone Center, San Francisco, US. Photo 2: AVEVA World 2023 Expo Floor. Photo 3: AVEVA CEO Caspar Herzberg (third from left) speaking at an analysts' briefing at AVEVA World 2023© Gaurav Sharma October 24-25, 2023. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Two tech-heavy 'crude' days at Ignite 2019

The Oilholic has spent the last two days in Oslo, Norway attending energy software firm Cognite's annual Ignite 2019 conference at the City's H3 Arena. 

Founded by entrepreneur John Markus Lervik, this energy software start-up majority-owned by Norwegian investment firm Aker, has been making waves in the oil and gas industry as a provider of advanced data and digitization services. 

The firm's industry solutions and analytics bank on operations and equipment sensors that help boost efficiency, throughput and reduce costs by several multiples – something oil and gas players can easily relate to especially in the current volatile oil price climate and pressure for lower breakevens. 

Within just over three years (and counting) of its founding, Cognite has bagged nearly 30 customers including big names such as OMV, Aker BP and Lundin Petroleum. Ignite 2019 was the company's attempt at showcasing what it can offer and trigger debates and dialogues about process efficiencies and optimisation.

Inevitably, in the age of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, much of the discourse centred on 'Big Data for 'Big Oil'. The conference was supported by companies such as Cognizant, Google, Framo, Siemens, National Instruments and Aker BP to name a few. Nikolai Astrup, Minister of Digitalization of Norway, started proceedings declaring "data is gold."

The minister went on to note: "If we refine, manage and share data appropriately it will lay the foundation for better and more effective public services, new industry successes and create jobs. 

"The Norwegian government has just launched an ambitious digitalization strategy, making us a pioneer in creating good public services for citizens, businesses and the voluntary sector."

A packed agenda saw several speakers outline the kind of efficiencies their digitisation efforts are bringing about and the results they have yielded. For instance, here is the Oilholic's report for Forbes on how Austria's OMV has managed to lower its production costs from $15 per barrel down to $7 per barrel.

While the job of impressing the sector and bagging clients is well underway, and Cognite's product suite is helping the company to grow profitably, further capital for expansion will be needed. To that end, this blogger sat down with Lervik to discuss his future plans, including those for a possible initial public offering. Here's this blogger's full interview for Forbes in which Lervik also discusses Cognite’s expansion to Asia and North America

Following an evening of networking over some fun music and drinks on day one, day two brought more efficiencies discussions to the fore, not necessarily digressing from the oil and gas industry theme but including renewables and low carbon as vital topics.

As were the subjects of advanced data analytics and cloud computing, with Darryl Willis, VP Oil, Gas & Energy at Google Cloud, telling Ignite 2019 delegates that every industry, including energy, will be grappling with data as the new common denominator. "Data science to real time monitoring aided by cloud computing and data analytics would only be to the industry advantage."

Plenty more articles coming up from the deliberations for Forbes, Rigzone and Energy Post over the next few weeks, but that's all from Ignite 2019 on that note. After a few more meetings in Oslo, it'll be time for the big bus home. Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo 1: Oslofjord Ferry Pier, Oslo, Norway. Photo 2: Nikolai Astrup, Minister of Digitalization of Norway speaks at Ignite 2019 at the H3 Arena in Oslo, Norway. Photos 3&4: Glimpses of networking floor at Ignite 2019 © Gaurav Sharma, June 2019.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Meeting & greeting Emerson's inimitable boss

Before the Oilholic called time on CERAWeek 2019, this blogger had the absolute pleasure of meeting and greeting David Farr, the inimitable Chief Executive and Chairman of energy industry vendor Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR) on the sidelines of the event on March 13. 

Farr, who has been Emerson's boss since 2000, has overseen the company's market valuation double under his stewardship. In a wide-ranging discussion, the industry captain touched on Emerson's performance, the Industry 4.0 challenge, change management, and more. 

No conversation would have been complete without touching on the portfolio shake-up that Farr has brought about at Emerson, and the unsuccessful bid for Rockwell Automation that did not turn out to be so bad in the end!

Ultimately, it all bottles down to corporate agility, and Farr said Emerson's two broad business streams - Automation and Commercial and Residential solutions - encompassing a diverse range of brands and businesses is working out pretty well. 


That's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo: David Farr (left) with Gaurav Sharma on March 13, 2019 at CERAWeek in Houston, Texas, USA. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Crude 'smart' tech & 'Silicon Bayou'

Days IV and V of CERAWeek 2019 have zipped by with an emphasis on power markets and technology. Since it was all about electricity and technology; here's a photo of ABB's Formula E car on display here in Houston, and yes the Swiss automation and robotics giant's YuMi robot was here too.
And here is the Oilholic's full report for Forbes on how technology is making rigs 'smarter'. Its not just the greenfield sites we see this at play in, as a number of brownfield sites are being retrofitted as well to optimise performance and efficiencies. 

Finally, as is customary at CERAWeek, the Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner turned up, and this year he reminded delegates that H-Town has sufficiently diversified to have the spheres of education, medicine and information technology sit happily alongside the City's energy sector.

In fact, the IT industry here is growing at such a rapid place that you can call it 'Silicon Bayou' and promote #SiliconBayou, he added. The Oilholic promptly did so. And that's all from CERAWeek 2019 and Houston. Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

Friday, October 05, 2018

Mixing it with the ‘crude’ technologists at HUG

As the oil price hit a four-year high, the Oilholic found himself in Madrid, Spain, mixing it with the technologists driving process optimisation, Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and all the rest of it in the oil and gas industry, at the Honeywell Users' Group conference.

The event was the annual jamboree of global software-industrial giant's automation outfit – Honeywell Process Solution (HPS). The 2018 round, held in Madrid, Spain, carried additional significance for more than one reason. It was the event's 30th edition, and while the first one back in 1989 would have been as much about software as it would have been about nuts, bolts and consoles, the latest instalment turned out to be anything but. 

Additionally, it was also recently appointed HPS President John Rudolph's (above left) first meaningful interaction with analysts and media outside of the Americas, having taken over in May from Vimal Kapur, who led the outfit in the oil and gas downturn of 2015, as a bit of an optimisation and efficiencies evangelist in trying times. 

And Rudolph told this blogger the efficiency and throughput gains made by HPS clients under his predecessor (who has moved on internally within Honeywell), are only going to be notched up further. "That applies equally to upgrades of legacy estate, as well as starting from scratch with clients' new builds. Efficiency is a one way street. If you are impacting efficiencies, you are also impacting waste; opportunities are a lot greater than we imagine."

The new HPS boss added the company is just starting out with its connected plant solution (more info here), which as the name suggests, is its plant operating platform predicated on big data and IIoT. That's so true, because as recently as 2010, gatherings of this nature were as much about software as they were about hardware. Now software dominates, to quote Jason Urso, HPS' Chief Technology Officer (below right). 

"We've effectively decoupled software from hardware," Urso added. That means the TDC 3000 – that old industry work-horse of a plant control system Honeywell introduced in the 1990s – can now have its digital twin for oil and gas customers hosted on Honeywell servers with no need for additional physical equipment, enabling applications, controls, displays, upgrades and performance monitoring via digital avenues. 

"The world we are heading for is about software driven automation with infinite industry and outcome focussed upgrades. The TDC 3000 is no exception," Urso told the Oilholic. 

Improved plant control, means digital is proliferating to enhance productivity, in some cases "by as much as 10 times" mitigating unplanned downtime and equipment underutilisation. All sorts of kit, sensors and drones are turning data into knowledge that business analysts can interpret to bring about further improvements.

The most visible example of this was offered at HUG by Honeywell's drone (see below) – a star attraction of the conference's exhibition floor (minus its rotors for health and safety reasons of course). 

The drone is being deployed by oil and gas downstream, midstream players, and utilities to inspect anything ranging from power-lines to pipelines. Not only does it carry out safety inspections and monitoring, the drone also gathers performance data, as programmed by the site manager for fixed inspection distances. 

Additionally, the related sphere of health, safety and training – a billion dollar business by Rudolph's own admission – is benefitting from digital as well via augmented reality and intelligent wearables.

Basically, Honeywell and its peers are bringing immersive competency to industry training via virtual reality into the process, making trainees partake in a procedure virtually before actually doing it, and digitising instruction manuals via "active worker assist solutions" embedded into wearable equipment. Sum it all up, and you can get an idea of the kind process efficiencies we are talking about, not just in the oil and gas sector, but the wider manufacturing complex to be honest. 

Invariably, the key issue of industrial cybersecurity matters, especially as research suggests attacks are on the rise. So Honeywell also used the opportune moment of HUG to announce the launch of its new industrial cybersecurity consulting service, an area of its business where it has been investing millions of dollars to service clients. Here is the Oilholic's full report on the launch for Forbes should it interest you.

Away from HUG, and back to oil futures, the market is turning bullish. In fact, too bullish for this blogger's liking! Brent is currently lurking either side of $85 per barrel. There is, at least in this blogger's eyes, a very real danger of the market overshooting. 

If, as many are only too keen to predict, the oil price hits three figures, then there is a real risk of the level being unsustainable given the hit it would have on global demand. Here's the Oilholic's take from HUG on TRT World. But that's about it from Madrid folks, it's time for the big flying bus home! Keeping reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2018. Photo 1: John Rudolph, President of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) addresses HUG 2018, in Madrid, Spain. Photo 2: Jason Urso, CTO of HPS. Photo 3: Honeywell's Industrial Drone on display at HUG 2018. © Gaurav Sharma 2018.