Technology Enables Energy Sector To Meet Sustainability And Efficiency Goals


Industry players participate in ADIPEC 2022 to promote next-gen tech roles in helping energy firms meet the trilemma — security, sustainability and affordability

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Published: Tue 1 Nov 2022, 9:00 AM

The United Nations (UN) has estimated that the world’s population will reach approximately 10.4 billion by the 2080s. In parallel, increased urbanisation is seeing more people moving into cities across the globe. As per a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the share of the world’s population living in cities is expected to rise to 80 per cent by 2050, up from 55 per cent at present. These two factors will contribute significantly to the global demand for energy.

Evgeny Fedotov, Senior Vice President and Head, EMEA AVEVA
Evgeny Fedotov, Senior Vice President and Head, EMEA AVEVA

A report by S&P Global Commodity Insights said that global energy demand will grow 47 per cent by 2050, with oil continuing to be the top source. The report also said that by 2050 renewables would make up 27 per cent of the global energy mix, which suggests that traditional energy sources will keep the world’s cities and businesses turning over in the near and long-term.

The S&P report, citing the US Energy Information Administration, also said it expects to see energy-related carbon dioxide emissions continuing to rise through to 2050. This is to the detriment of the ongoing fight against climate change and the goals of the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015. Achieving the agreement’s goal calls for countries to peak greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) as soon as possible, to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.

At present, the energy sector produces the most GHGE globally according to the World Resources Institute; it stated the sector was currently responsible for 75.6 per cent of worldwide GHGEs at 37.6

giga tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. As a result, energy sector stakeholders are under increasing scrutiny by governments and regulators to reduce their impact on the environment in terms of resources used and the emission of GHGs, while continuing to meet growing demands for energy.

In response, many energy sector players have been setting sustainability goals, and are turning to Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to meet growing customer demand, improve efficiency, optimise processes, curb GHGE and costs. Results thus far are encouraging according to digital transformation and technology enablers.

Within the region, FTSE-100 industrial software company — AVEVA worked closely with regional energy major Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to develop its Panorama Digital Command Centre in Abu Dhabi. The solution is said to allow the visualisation of millions of data points through a number of dashboards, which enables ADNOC engineers and executives to boost efficiency by addressing operational issues, prevent failures and downtime, and respond quickly to market changes.

“ADNOC’s Panorama Unified Operations Centre enables savings between $60 to $100 million through optimised operations,” says Caspar Herzberg, Chief Operating Officer at AVEVA.

Speaking more broadly about the firm’s experience in the sector, Evgeny Fedotov, Senior Vice-President and Head of EMEA region at AVEVA, adds: “AVEVA’s solutions have already enabled 19 of the world’s top 20 petroleum companies to embrace digital transformation and realise significant business and environmental benefits. As requirements to remain competitive and deliver value while meeting climate targets pervade the energy sector further, firms must make a conscious decision to begin their digital transformation journeys and take advantage of data and

innovative automation tools to evolve and thrive.”

Commenting on his firm’s results in the energy sector, Peter Harding, Founder and CEO of collaborative control software company Kelvin, states: “Our customers, like BP, experienced an impact that cut emissions by 74 per cent, cut costs by 22 per cent, and increased production by 20 per cent. Across our customers, we have delivered over $100 million in value and three times ROI. We convert engineering insights into action that deliver decarbonisation objectives through Kelvin co-pilots; it enables engineers to easily scale decarbonisation efforts across their operations. This is how we rapidly get to net zero.”

Harding and his firm are participating at ADIPEC 2022 to highlight how its Kelvin Carbon Maps and Kelvin co-pilots solutions, can help firms slash carbon emissions and boost efficiency. “We plan to accelerate how companies become more sustainable and reach their net zero goals,” he states.

Discussing the role technology plays in helping energy firms tackle energy security, sustainability and affordability (referred to as the energy trilemma), and how current challenges can be addressed, Herzberg adds: “The energy trilemma is extremely complex and will demand collaboration among multiple parties. Organisations need to find the way to decarbonise and increase the energy supply while making it robust and reliable all at the same time.”

Asked how energy companies should begin their digital journeys, Herzberg recommends companies start with solid fundamentals. “Information management systems including engineering, operational and financial data, provide easy access to real time data and capability to convert data into information and insights timelessly and effortlessly. You need to identify the gaps to be able to make improvements. Covestro, a global player in polymers, has reduced specific CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by leveraging AVEVA PI System data in energy management.”

AVEVA has itself set targets it describes as ‘bold’ to achieve net zero across its entire value chain by 2050, so it aligns with the Paris Agreement. As part of this, the firm has returned to ADIPEC to demonstrate the business and sustainability benefits of digital transformation to the energy sector, in line with the event’s overarching theme. In addition, the firm is sponsoring the Climate Innovation Zone at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) at Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt from 6-18 November. The theme this year is ‘Together for Implementation’.

“Its aim is to bring public and private sector actors together to create tangible impacts in the real economy, i.e. to help close the implementation gap. AVEVA believes that public-private partnerships are critical to breaking down silos in the development of new low-emission products, as the development of entirely new supply chains require a wider ecosystem approach that allows for the sharing of collective risks. AVEVA joined the First Movers Coalition (FMC) in 2022 to send a powerful market signal on the importance of commercialising zero-carbon technologies more rapidly, making them economically viable in the next seven years.”

Talking about how the use of technology can be scaled up to achieve net zero in the near term, Herzberg emphasises: “Strong relationships across the supply chain are key to beginning the transition to net zero in the energy sector. AVEVA proposes a systemic platform called the Connected Industrial Economy — a data-driven network that connects enterprises along a digital data thread to facilitate exponential and sustainable growth across the entire ecosystem.”

Herzberg notes that data, which is increasingly referred to as the ‘new oil of the digital economy’, is central to delivering this paradigm shift. He continues: “When aggregated and transformed into actionable information using machine learning and AI, and that information is shared within companies and with external partners, data helps unlock innovation at scale for all players. If each business along this connected digital thread is sharing data back and forth, the speed at which new products and services can be developed is increased, leading to exponential gains.”

Kelvin’s Harding also advocates for the power of data driving actionable intelligence that can enable energy companies to achieve their goals. He comments: “Accurate data is vital to making good decisions. We deliver industrial intelligence by capturing the right data sources and empowering engineers by converting those insights into actions. In doing so, we enable companies to learn how these actions impact their results, which allows them to become more intelligent over time, as they learn from past decisions. All of this is built on accurate data to deliver industrial intelligence.”

Harding points out that action is needed to achieve net zero goals and that there are two options to address carbon output today: optimise or offset. He remarks: “We believe that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, so we must find ways to optimise our existing systems today, so we don’t have the financial burden of offsetting our failures in the future.”

The potential benefits of technology and digital transformation have seemingly struck a chord with energy sector players. As per a study conducted by cloud enterprise software company IFS, more than three-in-ten (31 per cent) oil, gas and utility organisations worldwide cited tighter integration and collaboration across functions among the top two drivers for the adoption of enterprise software systems, while 30 per cent said better project management, 29 per cent improved asset lifecycle management, and 29 per cent improved operational efficiency were other drivers.

IFS is participating at ADIPEC 2022 to showcase how its innovations can help energy companies optimise assets and gain better control of projects. The firm said it polled over 600 senior decision-makers at large energy companies across France, Australia, Japan, the Nordics, USA, the UK, and the Middle East for the research. It added that 44 per cent of organisations with sustainability goals want to invest in more energy-efficient assets and infrastructure to meet those objectives.

Its research also found that 57 per cent of oil, gas and utility companies that have digital transformation projects are looking for a composable platform to support their entire journey, while only 38 per cent are going down the niche

solution route.

The firm pointed out there are still significant barriers to change however; nearly three in ten (29 per cent) companies said the chief barrier to adoption is the inability to accurately measure value from investment during the digital transformation journey. A fifth (20 per cent) also noted it’s the biggest barrier to digital transformation overall.

Carol Johnston, VP Energy, Utilities and Resources, IFS concludes by saying: “Companies in the energy sector are often very risk averse and are frequently dealing with regulators and other stakeholders that demand proof of RoI. The inability to put a quantifiable number on what they will get for spend, and when, is preventing them from progressing. Due to the economic and social pressures the industry is under, simply doing nothing is, in contrast, not an option. The good news is that an ever-growing number of organisations understand this today.

"The energy trilemma is extremely complex and will demand collaboration among multiple parties," said Caspar Herzberg, Chief Operating Officer, AVEVA.

We believe that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, so we must find ways to optimise our existing systems today,” said Peter Harding, Founder and CEO, Kelvin.

Companies in the energy sector are often very risk averse and are frequently dealing with regulators and other stakeholders that demand proof of RoI,” said Carol Johnston, V-P Energy, Utilities and Resources, IFS.

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