North American Oil & Gas Pipelines

FEB 2017

North American Oil & Gas Pipelines covers the news shaping the business of oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance in North America, including pipeline installation methods, integrity management innovations and managerial strategies.

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Page 33 of 43

34 North American Oil & Gas Pipelines | FEBRUARY 2017 H igh natural gas and oil prices fueled a boon in the drilling industry from 2005 to 2014. Companies across the en- tire value chain thrived with numerous midstream and downstream projects. In 2015, however, the industry was hit with one of the worst downturns in de- cades. Faced with an uncertain future of lower oil prices and surplus supply, the oil and gas industry initially responded by cutting costs. Some cost-cutting mea- sures included workforce reductions and renegotiating vendor contracts to help maintain margins. While prices are showed some signs of recovering in 2016, a significant recovery seems un- likely in the foreseeable future. Short- term, quick fixes are no longer enough. Instead, fundamental changes in opera- tions and business processes are neces- sary. For this reason, oil and gas execu- tives are turning to technology to help their companies survive the ups and downs of the market. Although the oil and gas industry has been highly automated and connected for years, the general drill mentality has remained relatively unchanged — drill a well, deplete the resources, drill an- other one. Unfortunately, this type of capital-intensive business model closely ties profitability to fluctuating oil pric- es. In light of recent economic turmoil, oil and gas companies now are asking themselves, "How can I make existing operations more efficient?" The answer is to invest in new digital capabilities to gain real-time visibility into operations. Today, data from exploration, drill- ing, and transportation is connected in real-time. Management knows exactly which wells to prioritize for investment and which ones to shut down. Causes of asset failures can be pinpointed in an instant and variable workforces can be dispatched with the necessary 3D main- tenance procedures on their mobile de- vices. This new ability to combine data with operations technology has given oil and gas companies increased flex- ibility and transform the way the indus- try meets global energy needs. How to Add Agility to Your Company Ultimately, the goal of increasing a company's flexibility is to be able to al- ter operations in real-time not only in response to various conditions, but also in anticipation of change. Having an agile business model means workers are empowered to quickly make decisions. Below are a few benefits of having a more flexible business: Quickly deploy resources. Using cloud-based technology, companies are able to access information on available resources when needed and then quick- ly deploy them, whether it is physical resources such as equipment parts, or talent resources (e.g., third-party service providers, contingent labor, in-house experts or field technicians). The abil- ity to resolve an issue or make a pipeline repair fast is a must-have capability to compete now and in the future. Easily scale workforces up or down. While reducing one's workforce is a fast way to lower costs in the short- term, what happens when conditions change and it is time to staff up again? Integrated workforce management sys- tems are important for staying in touch with workers and rehiring them when needed. Using a single system, compa- nies access real-time schedules and em- ployee records including qualifications, certifications and availability, allowing them to assemble crews from anywhere, at a moment's notice. Align production with market conditions. There's an old proverb that says, "Make hay while the sun shines." Following this advice means Data Analytics Help Energy Companies Be More Agile to Increase Efficiency, Maintain Margins By Brent Potts Survive & How to

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