The emergence of industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has been having a huge impact throughout the oil and gas supply chain. Across all industries, digital technology has been revolutionising the entire value chain and changing best practices. In the oil and gas sector, advances in seismic imaging and data analysis is helping to streamline manufacturing and production. With the rise of industry 4.0, technology continues to drive transformation, from downstream to upstream and in other business areas including research and development, and finance. Right now, technology is leading the way in the oil and gas sector so read on for further insights on exactly how Industry 4.0 is re-shaping the oil and gas supply chain.
Digitalisation of the oil and gas industry
Industry 4.0 has accelerated the rise of smart technology, generating new business areas and re-shaping the traditional supply chain. Increased data integration, analytics and information sharing are allowing companies to provide upstream exploration teams with much more meaningful insights, as well as the ability to adjust production levels in real-time, all of which is based on stored data. With digitisation, there’s huge potential for off-field services and businesses to create a much more efficient and effective supply chain. Many oil and gas companies are already using 4D BIM models that map data to analyse changes in oil and gas levels, which can help identify the quality of resources and their lifespan more accurately.
Changes to production
One of the main benefits of the implementation of industry 4.0 in the oil and gas industry is how it’s paving the way for a seamless production chain. There’s now a wide range of Industry 4.0-era production solutions that are creating cross-organisational collaborations and digital efficiency in the supply chain. For example, one of the most notable uses of industry 4.0 technology in recent years is the digital twin – a virtual representation of a physical object. Digital twin technology allows oil and gas professionals to simulate design assets in real-time, providing powerful insights that maximise productivity while reducing the need to mobilise offshore and inspect the model. BP is one oil and gas company that uses a digital twin system, known as APEX, which creates digital copies of all production processes, optimising process considerably.
An integrated supply chain
There’s no doubt industry 4.0 can play a pivotal role in helping oil and gas companies tackle complex challenges along the supply chain. Technologies such as big data will have a positive impact on midstream activities, which includes storage and transportation. For example, with the use of digital technology, oil and gas companies can equip railcars with detectors and sensors to detect any leaks, and monitor any problems in the pipeline’s infrastructure. These new technologies and processes are creating a much more integrated supply chain, with a closer working relationship between each link in the chain. However, there’s much work still to be done to achieve a completely streamlined and efficient supply chain. Technology company Infosys argues in a published white paper that, “Industry 4.0 must be viewed as an enterprise-wide initiative that meets present and future organisational goals.” Oil and gas companies, then, must ensure they have a strategy in place that implements new technologies to achieve the best results. Industry 4.0 is still very much in its infancy, but as long as companies collaborate in the right way, the supply chain will continue to improve and transform.
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