Tom Fidjeland, VP Rig Equipment, Drilling Systems at Cameron, a Schlumberger company presented a new business model at NorTex seminar in Houston Friday.

A game-changing business model

Alignment of financial incentives between Schlumberger and operators makes production of oil and gas more efficient.

“We are introducing a game-changing business model. By aligning financial incentives, all parties are interested in doing things in the most cost-effective way,” says Tom Fidjeland, VP Rig Equipment, Drilling Systems at Cameron, a Schlumberger company.

Oil companies are in demand for quickly installed, good productive wells. Service companies have traditionally almost been interested in the opposite. When paid by the hour, there are in theory few incentives to accomplish tasks quickly.

“Something had to change, this was not productive. Our answer is Total Well Delivery – The Industry Model. Again, it is an alignment of financial incentives between us and operators. This can be done in many ways by aligning operational goals with financial goals, so that the suppliers make more money if the operator makes more money,” says Fidjeland.

PHOTOS: NorTex workshop in Houston

A data-driven workflow has enabled Schlumberger to offer this new business model. Due to its size and vertical integration, Schlumberger has full control of a wide range of processes, that typically would involve a group of suppliers specialized in their own fields of operation.

A shift from an operator model to an industry model implies integration of hardware, services and crew, enabled by total system automation and a digital environment.

“Having full control of our own equipment enable us to take more risk and guarantee that the equipment runs. If downtime is on us, there are strong financial incentives to do things better. The way of thinking is changing fast,” says Fidjeland.

He gave a presentation of the Industry Model at a Norwegian-Texan (NorTex) seminar in Houston Friday, as part of the Agder delegation pre-OTC program.

Last year, Fidjeland and his Kristiansand based company Cameron, hired several data engineers from the Agder area, to support the development and implementation of the Industry Model. Fidjeland credited the Agder ecosystem for innovation and business development for supporting the regional industry.

“I am very enthusiastic about how the University of Agder are building expertise within artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Students should focus on automation and digital transformation. In Kristiansand, we have been able to find highly skilled people, many of them product of the local university, more easily than at other locations,” says Fidjeland, who is also on the Board of Directors at the University of Agder.

Former Equinor executive Trond Ellefsen says the oil and gas industry is lightyears behind other industries when it comes to digitalization.

“Oil and gas lightyears behind other industries”

Oil and gas do not exploit the possibilities presented by digitalization, according to former Equinor executive.

“Today, everything is faster, smaller and cheaper. The speed of evolution is making incrementalism obsolete. You need to disrupt in order to succeed,” says Trond Ellefsen, CEO at Invatare and longtime Equinor executive.

At a NorTex seminar in Houston Friday, Ellefsen claimed that “the oil and gas industry is lightyears behind when it comes to digitalization, but finally picking up the pace.”

“In 2007, several technologies evolved to a level that enabled a much faster evolution than before. We saw an increase in bandwidth, computational power, storage and memory capacity and global connectivity – all at the same time. This changed the playing field. Since, companies that have continued to follow a linear path of evolution are now at a place very distant from where they could be. This provides great opportunities for new companies to disrupt the industry,” says Ellefsen.

According to the former North America Special Advisor on Digital Strategy and Change at Statoil (now Equinor), the status of digital transformation in oil and gas in 2019 is not uplifting.

“Current investments in digital technologies, artificial intelligence, machine learning etc, do not seem to deliver the expected results. It is because we are trying to put a Ferrari engine into a T-Ford. Legacy, culture and competence are the biggest barriers to change. The new hyper-connected world demands new operating models and investments in core building blocks,” says Ellefsen.

For him, it is all a matter of management.

“Management should have a clear view of what they think their future will look like.

Will the speed of evolution have an impact on their business? Is there an efficiency potential? Is data a strategic asset? If the answer is yes, yes, yes – they should map out their own future now! How can the company position itself for a more digitally enabled world, remembering that small steps do not lead to transformational value creation,” says Ellefsen.

NorTex workshop organizers (left-right): Thor Ole Gulsrud (IRIS), Benoit Dairaux (IRIS), Pradeepkumar Ashok (University of Texas – Austin), Chunming Rong, Fionn Iversen (IRIS), Nejm Saadallah (IRIS), Søren Kragholm (University of Agder), Jan Helge Viste (GCE NODE), Jan Ødegaard (Rice University) and Marianne Engvoll (GCE NODE).

The final NorTex workshop (for now)

A data integration workshop in Stavanger, on the final day of ONS, was also the final workshop of the NorTex Data Science Cluster project.

An application for a second project period, which would also include e-health as a topic and the University of Stavanger as a partner, is already filed.

“It would be wonderful if we could continue developing the cooperation that has been established in the NorTex project, financed through The Research Council of Norway’s  INTPART program. We are extreme satisfied with what we have accomplished and look forward to continuing this work in an INTPART phase 2. This is just the beginning,” says Ann Marchioro, Project Manager at GCE NODE.

Since 2015, the University of Agder, Rice University, the University of Texas – Austin, IRIS, GCE NODE and The Research Council of Norway have worked together in NorTex Data Science Cluster project.

Pictures from the event

Professor Chunming Rong from the University of Stavanger at the NorTex workshop in Stavanger.

Blockchain for secure sharing of data

“Smart contracts and blockchain technology can enable trust and multi-level data sharing”, says professor at University of Stavanger.

“Today, data is black or white. It is either open and available to you, or closed and unavailable to you. We need more shades of data – that is data which could be open and closed, depending on the situation,” said Professor Chunming Rong during a NorTex Data Science Cluster workshop in Stavanger Thursday.

He offered GPS-data as one example:

“In a normal situation, you probably don’t want your employer to know where you are at all times. I mean, if you spend a lot of time in the restroom, you certainly don’t want that! But in an emergency, it could be of great value to let the employer or a rescue team know exactly where you are. So, we need to develop smart contracts that let you share data in some situations and not in others,” says Rong.

Another example is medical journals.

“You probably don’t want to share your medical data with friends or any other people. But you may want to share your medical data with researchers that are looking to develop a better cure or treatment for your ailment,” says Rong.

“Blockchain could help us solve the problem of how to share more data in a secure way. It could allow us full control of how we share data and with whom,” says Rong.

At the workshop, Terje Myklebust talked about how AkerBP develops a digital data hub to improve operations and reduce cost. Access to data is key in order to achieve these main objectives.

“AkerBP will put into contract that data must be delivered into the digital data hub with no latency, with penalties for those who don’t comply,” says Myklebust.

There is a general agreement that sharing data is important for bringing the industry forward.

“But there are also forces that work against this. Some are uncertain of new and unknown technology. Others are afraid of losing market share because the lock-in effect disappears,” says Myklebust.

NorTex is supported by The Research Council of Norway’s INTPART program.

Terje Myklebust from AkerBP.

Terje Myklebust from AkerBP.

Thor Ole Gulsrud, Research Director at IRIS and Project Manager of Norway Pumps and Pipes.

The solution to your problem may very well be in the other guy’s toolkit

Competence and technology from the oil and gas sector could improve medical procedures.

“The solution to your problem may very well be in the other guy’s toolkit”, says Thor Ole Gulsrud, Research Director at IRIS.

The statement is the mantra of and motivation behind the Norway Pumps & Pipes project, which explores how oil & gas and medicine can profit from sharing competence and technology.

“When discussing problems, we always make sure that the two professions are in the same room,” said Gulsrud at the NorTex Data Science Cluster workshop in Stavanger Thursday.

Gulsrud said the physics describing transport of fluids in reservoir rocks are the same physics describing flow in blood vessels. And medical imaging, in combination with simulation tools from oil and gas, can contribute to increase usage of non-invasive techniques for cardiological examinations.

Norway Pumps & Pipes is a platform to bring together professional groups who may not otherwise have the opportunity to interact for the transfer of knowledge and technology knowhow.

The partners behind the initiative are Stavanger University Hospital, IRIS, University of Stavanger and Greater Stavanger. Together with Norway Smart Care Cluster, Houston Pumps & Pipes and industry partners, they will strive to develop Norway Pumps & Pipes as a dynamic tool in order to develop new ideas, new solutions and new products.

NorTex is supported by The Research Council of Norway’s INTPART program.

Morten Hagland Hansen at satellite operator SES (right) enjoyed the NorTex Data Science Cluster Digitalization Workshop in Houston, led by Arnt Aske, Business Development Digitalization at GCE NODE.

Great mix of technology talks at NorTex workshop

5G, blockchain, data analytics and interoperability were among the topics at this year’s NorTex OTC Digitalization Workshop in Houston.

“A great mix of technology and market outlook. The workshop provided insight into the digital transformation and the drivers behind it,” says Morten Hagland Hansen, VP Segment Market Management Energy at SES, the world-leading satellite operator.

Hansen was a returning participant at the NorTex Data Science Cluster OTC workshop on digitalization.

“Both last year’s and this year’s workshops were positive experiences. At SES we are eager to understanding the needs of the end user. What is the demand for communication services in the age of autonomous systems and the Internet of Things? We had very good presentations and useful group discussions at the workshop,” says Hansen.

He was among the more than 40 participants, predominantly from the US and Norway. Speakers included representatives from Telenor Maritime, Kongsberg Digital, IRIS, Cognite, Data Gumbo, Apache Corporation and Intellicess.

“This is the third NorTex digitalization workshop. We are pleased to see many returning attendees. In addition to learning from each other, we are building trust and good relationships over the years. The value of relationships, has as much value as the technology talks,” says Arnt Aske, Business Development Digitalization at GCE NODE.

He thought the workshop included some very good presentations from a technology stand point.

“The key point is always how to extract value from new technology. Technology can help decrease cost and increase revenue. Our focus should never stray from value creation,” says Aske.

PICTURES: See pictures from the workshop

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Norwegian-Texan collaboration on emergency management

Following a meeting in Houston, researchers at the University of Agder and Rice University are looking for ways to collaborate on emergency management projects.

“We have a lot in common. We gather and analyze data to better understand what is happening in an emergency. This enables us to make better decisions in critical situations,” says Professor Bjørn Erik Munkvold, Director of Center for Integrated Emergency Management (CIEM) at the University of Agder.

Munkvold gave a presentation of CIEM to colleagues from Rice University in Houston last Friday, less than a year after hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, killing 103 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

The meeting was hosted by the Nortex Data Science Cluster, a research collaboration between Norway and the American state of Texas.

For decades, Rice University has been researching natural disasters and how data can be used to predict and mitigate the effects of the huge rainfalls that are dropped on the city.

“Historically, Houston has experienced a large flood with 6 to 7 years intervals. Now we have had big floods in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The last, Harvey, had huge consequences for people and infrastructure,” says Philip Bedient, Director of Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center at Rice University.

“With Harvey fresh in memory here in Houston, discussions on the NorTex Data Science Cluster emergency management seminar were particularly relevant. We will now explore how we can reinforce an established cooperation between universities in Norway and Texas through projects in this field,” says Jan Erik Ødegård, Executive Director at Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology and Associate Vice President Research Computing at Rice University.

Munkvold at CIEM agrees:

“Researchers at Rice University have an expertise that is highly relevant to CIEM. We will begin to define areas for joint research projects related to utilizing data effectively in emergency management.”

PICTURES: See pictures from the workshop

Researchers from the University of Agder and Rice University in Houston met in Houston to discuss crisis management. Left-right: Deepak Khazanchi, Bjørn Erik Munkvold and Christian Webersik from the University of Agder, and Devika Subramanian, Jan Erik Ødegård and Philip Bedient from Rice University.

Researchers from the University of Agder and Rice University in Houston met in Houston to discuss crisis management. Left-right: Deepak Khazanchi, Bjørn Erik Munkvold and Christian Webersik from the University of Agder, and Devika Subramanian, Jan Erik Ødegård and Philip Bedient from Rice University.

Adrian Ambrus and Roman Shor from UT Austin spent two weeks at IRIS. Photo: IRIS

UT Austin researchers at IRIS

As part of the project NorTex Data Science Cluster, funded by the Research Council of Norway, scholars from UT Austin spent two weeks at IRIS.

Hopefully the visit is  the beginning of a strong collaboration across the pond.

The two researchers, Adrian Ambrus and Roman Shor, are both associated with the drilling group (RAPID) at the University of Texas at Austin. In June they spent two weeks together with IRIS researchers, where they among other things, looked into research on latency in real-time drilling data.

Addressing the problem of latency
This collaboration will result in a paper presenting an overview on latency (the time delay from measurements to simulation and response). They are also considering laborating on certain sub-topics through additional papers.

– The next step would be to bring in different perspectives from other industries outside petroleum, to see how they deal with delays, says Ambrus.

Both researchers work with research and development related to drilling optimisation and automation. They emphasise the good synergies in the collaboration with IRIS.

– Even though we are orientated towards US land wells and IRIS towards offshore industry in the North Sea, it’s interesting to be here, and we can learn a lot, they say.

During these two weeks they also had a closer look at software developed at IRIS.

– IRIS is world leading when it comes to modeling, says Shor.

Closer collaboration
The visit was initiated through the NorTex Data Science Cluster, where one of the main objectives is to create stronger relations between researchers in Norway and Texas.

– Knowledge sharing and closer collaboration on projects and publications is of mutual interest to the Norwegian and U.S. research institutions as well as the industry, says Jan Einar Gravdal, programme manager in DrillWell.

UT Austin has a strong team of researchers, and several activities are very relevant to the SFI DrillWell and closely related to IRIS’ strategy on automated drilling. This work by Ambrus and Shor is managed by Professor Eric van Oort.

– We are glad to cooperate with him and his researchers, and look forward to a productive collaboration, says Gravdal.

The cluster is just getting started, but has already initiated several activities like workshops on Plugging & Abandonment and Intelligent Drilling & Well Technology at OTC in Houston in May, with more activities are planned.

IRIS is managing the project where GCE NODE is a partner together with The University of Agder, Rice University and The University of Texas at Austin. The NorTex Data Science Cluster is funded by The Research Council of Norway through International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research (INTPART).

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Building a data highway

Academia and industry came together in Houston for a full day workshop and seminar to discuss how to improve access to real time data in the oil and gas industry.

GCE NODE, in cooperation with Iris, organized the NorTex seminar – a continuation of discussions launched at OTC 2016 with focus on how to get access to data in real time and how this can be used to increase safety and reduce cost in drilling operations.

“In order to use data from all sensors on offshore drilling equipment, we need to define a common data highway with defined rules for access and security to ensure correct time stamping. Access to data will enable providers to develop services and equipment, which will make operations safer and more efficient, cut costs and reduce the environmental footprint,” says Anne-Grete Ellingsen, CEO of GCE NODE.

“Digitalization is the next step to cut industry cost even further. We are moving towards a connected world with unmanned ships and platforms. More projects will be developed in cooperation with your partners. New business models will emerge. It is all about understanding the digital shift and what is does to your business and business models,” says Ellingsen.

NorTex grew out of a study that was commissioned by Norwegian Consul General in Houston, Jostein Mykletun, back in 2012. NorTex participants include Rice University in Houston, University of Texas in Austin, University of Agder, IRIS and GCE NODE. The project is funded by The Research Council of Norway.

Arnt Aske, Business Development Digitalization at GCE NODE, led the group of 50+ people from Norway and Texas through a full day of presentations and workgroups at Rice University Wednesday.

“The goal is to further develop automation and remote operations. We need to look at opportunities in the entire ecosystem to bring the oil and gas industry forward: From oilrigs and oil companies, to service and supply companies and equipment vendors. The big question should be: What is best for the industry?” says Aske.

Presentations included topics such as interoperability, cyber security, metadata, and data analytics.

Houston skyline. NorTex is a Norwegian-Texan collaboration.

Funding for NorTex Data Science Cluster

Houston skyline. NorTex is a Norwegian-Texan collaboration.

Houston skyline. NorTex is a Norwegian-Texan collaboration.

The Research Council of Norway has announced that the “NorTex Data Science Cluster” project is granted funding from INTPART.

Out of 47 applications, 19 were granted funding, and the “NorTex Data Science Cluster” project was one of them. This is a collaboration project initiated by IRIS, University of Agder, GCE NODE, Rice University and University of Texas at Austin.

“This enables us to establish close international relations within data science og data analytics. These are important areas for us”, says Marit Dolmen, RD&I Manager at GCE NODE.

IRIS and University of Agder have applied as host institutions for the SFIs DrillWell and Offshore Mechatronics. IRIS has led the work with the proposal and will be the project leader. The project will finance several activities to stimulate and promote research collaboration between Norwegian and US partners, not limited to the mentioned partners, but will include other academic institutions or industrial companies relevant for the proposed Data Science Cluster.

With the proposed NorTex Data Science Cluster the partners of this project will generate a long-term active partnership under the already established NorTex umbrella. NorTex is built on the existing initiatives carried out by the Norwegian Consulate General in Houston, Innovation Norway, INTSOK, and the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce in Houston.

The NorTex Petroleum Cluster has been active since the Transatlantic Science Week in November 2012. Among the US partners are Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin. In 2014, Jan E. Odegard at Rice University developed a vision paper under the name NorTex Data Science Cluster. The main area of focus for the proposed NorTex Data Science Cluster is to initiate and expand collaboration on education and research within Data Science and Data Analytics between universities and industry in Norway and Texas, and further to integrate relevant industry into the different university collaborations.

The main goal of INTPART (an RCN scheme) is to develop world class higher education and research institutions in Norway by promoting and funding long term institutional partnerships with strong academic groups and institutions in eight prioritized countries; Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South-Africa and the USA.

The scheme aims to increase the quality and relevance of cooperation with selected countries, particularly through integration of the higher education and research components, and it is open to cooperation with innovation and private sector actors of relevance to the project.