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Upstream Digitalization Is Proving Itself in the Real World

At its most basic, digitalization is about creating value from data. For the upstream industry, where even a 1% improvement in efficiency or production can drive huge financial results, there is no question that the size of the digital prize is huge. So are the challenges.

“The demand people increasingly make now when presented with … digitalization … is, ‘prove it works,’” said Gareth Smith, head of consulting for Sword Venture. “They want to see solid examples of real value, not just a PowerPoint promise.” And, that is starting to happen at growing scale.

There is a reason that 92% of survey respondents for DNV-GL’s 2020 oil and gas industry outlook said they expect to increase or maintain levels of spending on digitalization in 2020: Digital technologies combined with data-driven insights are transforming operations, improving efficiency, boosting agility, and enabling strategic decision-­making at numerous points along the E&P value chain (Fig. 1).

For example, scaling digital solutions across Equinor’s global portfolio faster than expected delivered cash flow impact of more than $400 million in 2019—primarily from earlier startup of Johan Sverdrup and increased uptime on assets connected to its integrated operations center—and enabled the company to increase its 2025 efficiency improvement ambition from $2 billion to $3 billion.

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Upstream Digitalization Is Proving Itself in the Real World

Judy Feder, Technology Editor

01 April 2020

Volume: 72 | Issue: 4

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