13.12.2019, 09:48:29 (GMT+1)

Defining the Digital Highways for the Norwegian Continental Shelf

Key oil & gas industry players are coming together to share their best methods and tools for data-sharing to release trapped value on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). Operators and suppliers on NCS are moving towards modern architectures and development of open APIs. By bringing together the best practices and tools across companies, the industry is set to develop and build the digital highway needed for NCS.


Technical Enablers

The industry´s investment in digital transformation is part of a global movement to capitalize on emerging and maturing digital enablers. Cloud storage and computation “on-demand using pay per use business models” allow for a completely different approach to delivering value than the former costly up-front investments in monolithic and static infrastructure. Smart sensors, Data Science, wireless standards and AI are becoming commoditized opening for new ways of connecting the physical and virtual world. If the goal is to increase safety, minimize environmental impact, or maximize equipment life or production, then a shiny new toolbox is available.


A culture for Data and code sharing

Together with the new digital tools, we also observe an increased focus on the value of data and effective data flows. There have been pockets of excellence on this, but we are currently experiencing a significant cultural change that involves more people realizing the value of combining data, sharing data and improving data flows across the ecosystem. There is also an increased focus on separating between non-competitive and competitive software resulting in a willingness to open source code to a much higher degree than earlier.


A Networked agile architecture rather than centrally controlled hierarchy

An integral pattern of the digital world is the use of concise, self-contained objects with clear purpose and interaction methods. This pattern is engrained in the object-oriented coding language used for the design of the internet, block-chains, micro services, and the agile delivery methods used to create functional digital deliveries. Here there is no central administration to proscribe structures upon the world. The structure emerges and reaches critical mass through its own merits as measured by adoption and continuous improvement.


Digitalisation on the NCS

Industrial operators on the NCS are preoccupied by safety and stable production. Equinor and Aker BP are recognised as two of the driving forces for digitalization on the NCS, and the safety and uptime priorities are reflected in their digital agendas. Both companies, as well as many other operators and suppliers, are moving towards modern data architectures and development of open APIs, and are searching for the sweet-spot where these digital enablers boost performance to release more value. By bringing together the best practices and sharable tools and methods, the industry will collectively build the digital highway needed for NCS. 


Equinor Omnia and Digital Center of Excellence

When Equinor initiated work on evaluating a future digital platform, it was a fundamental requirement that the selected platform had to support the whole value chain. Since most of platform providers at the time were primarily focused on specific parts of the value chain, Equinor turned to the main cloud providers, finally ending up with Microsoft as its selected provider.

Omnia, which is the name of Equinor’s digital platform, is made up of native Microsoft Azure services, with some additional 3rd party, open source and in-house developed services to supplement. In addition to the technical components, Equinor has also defined and implemented the necessary governance to operate this platform. Omina went live in 2017 and is today a comprehensive ecosystem of various "modules" or environments, covering a data platform, data science environment, app development environment etc. and utilizing a variety of different technologies.

Equinor established a Digital Center of Excellence (DCoE) to coordinate and manage digital strategy and specific initiatives across the company. In addition, DCoE contains enabling capabilities like Digital Academy, Emerging Digital Technologies, Data Science and Enterprise Data Management. DCoE also works closely with the IT unit, which delivers the technical part of the Omnia platform, as well as software developers and data engineers.

Today, all of Equinor’s digital projects build upon the Omnia platform, from the "Integrated Operations Center", to the "Echo - digital twin" and the "Subsurface Data Lake".


AkerBP Eureka & Cognite

AkerBP chose to address the same challenge by using the market. After screening the world for a good partner with the right tech stack, tools and know-how to liberate data from up to 30-year-old assets, AkerBP concluded by funding the start-up Cognite.

Using an Agile approach under a joint AkerBP & Cognite digitalization program, both the corporate data platform “Cognite Data Fusion” (CDF) as well as a portfolio of Minimal Viable Products (MVP´s) has been developed.

  • CDF now supports ingestion and structuring of data across the system landscape around key physical assets. The structured data is easily available for data-analytics, app development and sharing with service providers. Together with partners within data science, AkerBP has successfully built predictive solutions that notify operators of escalating indicators for specific failure modes on pumps that shut down production.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/oil-and-gas-companies-turn-to-ai-to-cut-costs-11571018460  

  • By isolating key frequencies in the sand monitors of wells, AkerBP can now get early indications of wells collapsing due to chalk influx, allowing operators to choke back the wells and safe them.


The NCS licence model is a driver for sharing

License partnerships on the NCS are an important vehicle for knowledge and data sharing. Data sharing has been going on for years, but the lack of common principles and standards for data exchange reduces both effectiveness and efficiency. There is significant potential in sharing more data across the NCS, but even more important are the sharing of principles, standards and data structures. These enable both efficient data sharing a more harmonized NCS with improved digital collaboration in general. This is at the center of what the O&G Data link initiative is all about.

Equinor and AkerBP, through its partner Cognite, have been working to agree on common data sharing principles, recommendations for API development, and a basic definition and description of time-series data. As part of this, Equinor and Cognite have developed and deployed their time series APIs openly, which means the documentation and related developer- and user documentation are publicly available for everyone. The upcoming release of Norsk olje og gass’ ReportingHub will support the same API specification to share drilling and production data through a cloud-based common API gateway. They are also planning to release their production and drilling datamodel for the NCS as a starting point for a common object model.

This is a success story, but only the beginning.


Launch of O&G Data link reference group for Architecture and APIs

O&G Data link is a project management office established by an industry coalition as a response to some of the recommendations from the 2018 KonKraft report on the transformation of the NCS. The purpose of the O&G Data link initiative is to promote digital collaboration on NCS, by identifying and distributing common recommendations, best practices and examples from what is being done in the industry, and make this available for all. The steering committee comprises companies participating in the Johan Sverdrup development, both license partners and suppliers. The O&G Data link steering committee has established a reference group for architecture and open APIs, and appointed Aker BP to lead the group.

The O&G Data link reference group will start out as a sharing community, not an industry standardization board, infrastructure service provider or a cross company data manager.

The reference group will promote the roll out of open APIs, make examples of good API code and documentation available for the industry, publish guidelines for architecture choices and development and use of open APIs.

The group acknowledge that this is work an ongoing effort across the industry and that best practices are only the latest version of what is being used. Interested parties in the industry are invited to get involved and contribute with their best practices and examples.

Together we contribute to a standardised development and use of APIs in our industry, speeding up the digital collaboration across the companies.

The Architecture and API group will use the O&G Data link initiative site to publish best practices, success stories and other relevant material. The group also has ambition to share insight and publications on what is happening internationally.

Please use our resource site to find ways to contribute and to explore the shared material.

Datalink - an oil and gas industry initiative for digital collaboration. Access to login requires invitation. Please contact Datalink for your signup/ login request.