The potentials of big data and artificial intelligence are already being discovered and explored by many industries, including the oil and gas sector. Many countries across the globe are investing heavily in data technologies for offshore oil and gas intending to secure the forthcoming competitiveness in a rapid-changing environment. As oil and gas are considered precious commodities in the energy sector, organizations involved in this sector are utilizing modern technologies to maximize and optimize efficiency as well as revenues.
Artificial intelligence is perceived as a diverse scientific field, but the primary application within the oil and gas sector is machine learning and data science. Within the offshore oil and gas industry, machine learning quickly monitors complex internal processes and operations that human operators may find it very difficult to detect.
Furthermore, machine learning can help run simulations in an attempt to discover patterns based on input data. In running simulations, the oil and gas industry will be able to gauge the environmental risk associated with upcoming projects before decisions are made. With the help of artificial intelligence, data science that hinges on neural networks can link related pieces of data together by mimicking trends, seasonality, and events (data variations that may occur on an irregular schedule or time) in a dataset. In the offshore oil and gas industry, data science makes complex data used for oil and gas production and exploration more accessible.
From a theoretical perspective, the aforementioned benefit of big data and artificial intelligence appears to be an important and intriguing tool needed in Ghana's offshore oil and gas. Giving the benefit of the doubt that big data and artificial intelligence may have just gained widespread media attention and adoption in organizations and industries, big data and artificial intelligence, on a practical perspective is more intriguing as it seems. For instance, in 2019, British Petroleum (BP) invested in Belmont Technology to develop a cloud-based geoscience platform.
The cloud-based geoscience platform links information, and identify new connections and workflows to create a more robust image of BP's subsurface assets. BP then consults the data by utilizing the neural network to perform simulations and interpret results. This innovative tool bolstered BP's revenues and operational performance. Also, in 2018, Shell partnered with Microsoft to incorporate the Azure C3 Internet of Things software platform into its offshore operations to drive efficiency across all sections of Shell’s offshore infrastructure (from drilling and extraction to employee empowerment and safety). Likewise, Shell reported high efficiency in daily operations.
As part of global efforts to digitally transform exploration and production operations in the oil and gas industry, what are the future of big data and artificial intelligence in Ghana's offshore oil and gas? The team of experts at the Center for International Maritime Affairs, Ghana (CIMAG) has outlined five major benefits why big data and artificial intelligence systems are needed in Ghana’s offshore oil and gas.
1. Offshore data analysis catalog
The use of big data and artificial intelligence enables the oil and gas companies to build clusters of data for simulation and prediction purposes. The oil and gas industry needs frequent and detailed compliance, audit checks, and enhanced operations. Ignoring artificial intelligence and big data creates huge volumes of paperwork, which is complex to track and practically impossible to measure with any degree of accuracy or value. Utilizing artificial intelligence and big data allows auditing checks to be monitored in real-time for decision-making purposes.
2. Big data fuels productivity
With offshore manual platforms running at minimal production potential, most businesses and organizations are looking to big data and analytics as a way to enhance process and productivity. For example, with the integration of the Internet of Things into daily production processes, large volumes of data generated from oil and gas upstream, midstream, and downstream processes can be swiftly analyzed to provide new insights to halt equipment malfunctioning. This helps employees to maintain offshore platforms through predicting maintenance and detecting equipment breakdown.
3. Automation saves time
Most often, the inspection of offshore assets is undertaken manually by an inspector, which is translated into a static report stuck on someone’s shelf. With automation, the same inspector with a hand-held device can log-on location, measurement, conditions assessment, and photo into the device platform to generate results that can be easily transmitted to the onshore facilities manager for assessment. The transmitted data can be stored in an active database platform for easy accessibility. The database system can evaluate the results against pre-set limits and trending analysis. Such automation shortens the offshore time for inspection, reduce operational cost, and improves feedback effects.
4. Balances safety with efficiency by following a data-led approach to operations
Although the oil and gas industry is awash with several opportunities that attempt to maximize efficiency, companies should be wary of rolling-out initiatives that save time and money without improving safety measures. Frequent monitoring of subsea pipeline flow with advanced analytics software tools can highlight potential problems that require solutions. The use of advanced analytic software can simulate production assets to depict real-time monitoring of good abnormalities to optimize performance and safety.
5. Real-time alerting with video analytics
To protect critical infrastructures in the oil and gas sector, a large number of video surveillance cameras should be ready to be deployed. Video analytics helps provide real-time alerting for maintenance purposes. Furthermore, the perimeter of the oil and gas industry can be protected with video analytics for security reasons. For operational efficiency, video analytics can monitor the feeds of all cameras to check if some cameras have been tampered with, thereby increasing the quality and uptime of the system.
He holds a certificate of proficiency in customs procedures & port operations. Currently, Albert is a Director in charge of Business Development at the Logical Maritime Services Limited, a privately held global logistics company. With extensive research, policy and advocacy backgrounds’, Albert serves on numerous boards within the maritime industry. E-mail: [email protected].
BISMARK AMEYAW (Ph.D.) is the director of research and advocacy at the Centre for International Maritime Affairs (CIMAG). He is a director of international relations and research development at the African Center for Strategic Business and Entrepreneurship Development (ACSBED).
He specializes in modeling and forecasting the dynamic links in energy, economics, and the environment. He also takes a keen interest in the Ghana maritime industry and entrepreneurship development. He writes, teaches, and consults on energy and maritime-related issues. He serves as an editorial board member and a reviewer for several Zone A academic journals. E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected].