Oil and Gas News

Resilience in the chaos; adapt digitally or be left behind

Digital technology emerged at the forefront of the oil and gas industry during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure productivity and efficiencies were maintained. Denver explains what this has achieved.

During the past year, the oil and gas industry faced some of the biggest challenges in its history, including being forced to work remotely and manage increasing safety demands.

Now a year into these new ways of working, Denver’s head of digital execution Simon Charewicz emphasises how productivity and resilience are keys to surviving the impacts of COVID-19. 

“How do you become resilient? You take away your reliance on an onsite presence,” Charewicz says.

“The pandemic led many to drastically change their operations, especially in a physical sense. In industries like oil and gas, only one team was allowed in an area at a time to limit the risk of exposure. 

“As soon as someone within a group had possible symptoms, the whole team was dropped and the operation’s resilience affected.”  

Charewicz says this caused concerns on many levels, especially about team availability and overheads.

“We had a lot of conversations around keeping people productive, even if they were offsite. There was a genuine fear that things wouldn’t be able to operate effectively amongst the chaos. Effective digital strategy was key. 

“Pre-2020 we were deploying a lot of mobile technology but in the last 12 months, that’s grown ten-fold. COVID spurred on a new generation of digital adopters. Today, I’d argue 99% of Australian businesses have come up to speed with the benefits of digital and have a good feel for the impact it can have,” he says. 

“But there’s a difference between knowledge and smart execution,” he notes. “The challenge many now face is making sure their tech is working for them; or more commonly, integrated.”

“When integration is done correctly, it becomes an enabler generating game-changing data. This information is critical when trying to build strong onsite / offsite working relationships. Of course, it also opens doors outside the COVID world as well. 

“One of the key things we’re reminding people to do is to keep the adoption momentum of last year up. It’s not just about surviving on a new digital footprint, but thriving.”

With most organisations built on data (or hoping to be), Denver’s approach highlights how getting the fundamentals right is essential for current day stability and future growth.

With companies also looking at ways to reinvent themselves, Charewicz believes many of them are looking at innovating into different markets, making digital strategies a key part of this move.

“I talk a lot about business strategy and digital strategy being the same thing, which previously wasn’t the case until companies were getting innovated out of their own domain,” he says.

“Last year accelerated this concept. There is a need to not only do what you do well, but to think about tomorrow and how your industry is shifting, or risk being left behind.” 

To Denver, this starts with the basics; that is getting the most from existing asset streams and addressing technical gaps.

“Many forget that it is the foundational work that allows innovation to fly,” he adds. “Data layers, systems that can talk to each other, data quality, and business processes are your foundations. Get them right and when you do, you can really unlock the value that innovation can bring.”

Denver’s approach highlights how easy the benefits of digital can be, when considered. Charewicz also reminds people though that considered doesn’t mean slow, particularly when dealing with a team who know oil and gas intimately. His advice comes from over 30 years helping clients in the resources space optimise their asset capability and improve their bottom-line.