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Energy Workforce & Technology Council 90th Anniversary
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Integrating Technology to Improve Operations

Senior Advisor, ESG, Energy Transition & Technology Andy Knapp
Council Senior Advisor ESG, Energy Transition & Technology, Andy Knapp

As the Council continues to integrate its programs and encourage committee collaboration, the Energy Transition Committee has taken a big step.  At its June meeting, the committee voted to integrate technology into its portfolio and update the name of the committee to reflect the change. Taking a cue from the Energy Workforce & Technology Council, the committee will now be known as the Energy Transition and Technology Committee.

Recognizing Council Members run the gamut in their technology needs, committee members agreed that to be most effective, the committee will focus on technologies that enable the energy transition. The industry is rapidly adopting digital technologies to improve operations like detection, optimization and supply chain. The real value of digital in the oil and gas industry comes down to a few key outcomes: improved safety and environmental performance, process improvement and cost savings.

After agreeing to and prioritizing the list of material items and defining workflows and timelines, companies are faced with myriad hardware and software options. They are bombarded with promises of fixes and solutions, likely from companies that have no idea how their company operates. Unless a company has a clear understanding of what it wants to achieve, these solutions equate to headlight washers on an automobile … they serve a purpose and are quite effective, but do they really bring high value and ongoing improvement? It is unlikely that a “silver bullet” software suite exists to streamline every process at a company but effectively integrating a technology that consistently improves an action over time, even marginally, can offer long-term value that more than justifies the expense.

We can all agree that gathering data for the sake of having it on hand is not an effective use of capital. Data needs to be put to good use. Digital adoption offers an architecture, a tool, to amass huge amounts of data across many processes to provide users real or near-real time metrics on which to base their analytics.

With ESG’s insatiable appetite for data, the Energy Transition and Technology Committee has been working closely with the ESG Committee to understand materiality, data capture, metrics, reporting and audit. Instead of having separate operational and reporting data streams, how can companies bring the two together to minimize staff time duplication and further eliminate data inconsistencies? How do we offer a clearer message to readers that integrates operational raw data and its meaning at the systemic level?

As the Council continues to progress its technology knowledge and messaging, collaboration with additional committees will be essential. Government Affairs can advise on public policy that can aid or impede technology adoption; also helping to prioritize issues and define an advocacy plan. Supply Chain is woven into the fabric of every company and has a unique perspective on seeing where gaps, duplication, and chokepoints exist and flagging for attention. Health, Safety and Environmental policy have critical experience and knowledge using data to improve operations and outcomes.

Council Member Companies, for the most part, are not pure-play technology companies.  Our Members effectively employ technology tools to differentiate themselves from the competition. From technology used by bench researchers to equipment retrofits, all the way up to a hyper-complex Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) projects, it is critical that we apply the appropriate technological tools in the right applications. These will not be easy issues but as always, we will look to our Members to raise the issues most important to them to continue our momentum as a technology thought leader.

Andy Knapp, Senior Advisor ESG, Energy Transition and Technology, writes about the Council’s ESG and energy transition efforts. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.


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