Tech Drives Innovation in Alberta Energy Sector
It is no secret that the energy sector is key to Alberta’s economy, generating $53B GDP and accounting for 17% of Alberta’s total GDP. Over the past few years, oil producers have faced many hurdles to profits from the low price of crude and natural gas, to issues with distribution and refining capacity.
Leaders are rising to the occasion and achieving business goals with the use of new technologies. The sector is at a turning point, and digital transformation is the answer to today’s business solutions.
Reduce operational costs
It is more important than ever to work smarter and leverage technology for finding insight to make decisions using technology-driven data. McKinsey research reveals that digital technologies have the potential to reduce CAPEX by up to 20% and OPEX by 3-5%.
Internet of Things is a buzzword these days, but there are very practical outcomes that are being undertaken now. For example, real time data collected from the field is used to monitor equipment. In the longer term, with more data collected, analysts can predict wear and tear to create more efficient maintenance plans and prevent the wastage of equipment shut downs. This requires fast, accurate and secure data transfer as well as compute power for the analysis.
A Reservoir Engineering Manager in Alberta recently shared that it is essential to have one “source of truth” when it comes to data. So much data is available on location production, but it is essential to consistently gather and store this data. Better software tools are being used for diagnostic analytics which improve decision making on where to extract for maximum return.
Lines of Business managers in the energy sector are driving new ideas like the examples above. An operations Director at a major energy firm, uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to quickly deploy and test new applications: “We currently use AWS for a number of our pilot & proof of concept development projects before bringing them into The Microsoft BI world for production.”
Because data and systems are crucial for managing production and operations, reducing costs and driving business, a disaster with the interruption or loss of data would potentially cost millions. The threats are now greater than ever with malware and ransomware added to the risk of natural disaster or human error. Many businesses are leveraging the high security available with cloud solutions like AWS and private cloud.
4 questions about cloud, answered
Though the energy sector is in many ways leading the big push to digital transformation, surprisingly many companies are in the earliest stage of cloud adoption and only experimenting with a few projects in the cloud. What is holding them back from moving more significantly to the cloud and gaining business impact are questions such as:
- Should I move to the cloud – how will my business benefit?
- What do I move – which of our current applications can be moved?
- Where do I put them – hyperscale, private, hybrid?
- What about security – I’m worried about risk?
 The Next Frontier for Digital Technologies in Oil and Gas. McKinsey: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/oil-and-gas/our-insights/the-next-frontier-for-digital-technologies-in-oil-and-gas