Intelligent Process Automation for Oil and Gas

A complex array of factors place significant and uncertain competitive pressures on oil and gas companies, regardless of where they reside in the pipeline (upstream, midstream, downstream, or integrated). Some factors, of course, are difficult to manage directly or respond to quickly, such as ongoing trade negotiations, tariffs, crude prices, rapidly shifting global demand, crude oil quality versus global consumer requirements, pipeline restrictions, and even oxygenates.

Diagram of Oil and Gas Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream RPA Processes

The oil and gas industry rebounded after several years of stagnation. Many oil and gas companies have achieved positive free cash flow in 2018, due to a variety of factors (Source: International Energy Agency). These include stronger oil prices, lower interest rates, cash stockpiling, and strong merger and acquisition cross-industry consolidations.

Oil and Gas Capital Investments

Global demand for a massive influx of American oil and natural gas, in particular, coupled with low interest rates, record acquisitions, and cross-industry consolidations, puts forward-thinking oil and gas companies in a unique position to leverage digital transformation and achieve sustained competitive advantages.

How Robotic Process Automation is Impacting the Oil and Gas Industry

There has never been a better time to embrace Intelligent Process Automation as a key component of digital transformation and extract maximum value from your infrastructure and technology investments.

Oil and gas companies that are efficiently integrated are agile, responsive, and have real-time data that enables them to maximize both productivity and profitability.

These seemingly different business activities naturally require specialized and dedicated resources to manage, and there are many stand-alone upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas operators. However, integrated oil and gas companies with both upstream and downstream operations are still a major force within the oil and gas industry. Investopedia – Integrated Oil and Gas Company

Intelligent Process Automation is being heavily adopted in the Oil and Gas industry because RPA platforms are specifically designed to deploy bots that can execute manual (attended) processes, automated (unattended) processes, and combined (hybrid) processes.

Upstream Oil and Gas Automation

Modern platforms have gone through significant changes to meet the demand for flexible, efficient, and reliable drilling options. Pad drilling, like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, is one of the most influential innovations to hit the oil and natural gas industry in recent years. It’s become the gold standard for efficient drilling operations and will continue in particular to dominate the drilling landscape wherever unconventional multi-well pads are used, especially in shale-rich deposits. The advent of multi-well pad capable drilling has brought with it much more complex configure and fit to purpose demands being placed on oilfield drilling and services providers.

Oilfield services providers are especially keen to “get it right before you drill”, since the high concentration of complex, hi spec rigs across the entire pad layout, coupled with advanced rig walking requirements, leaves little room for error. In such an environment, improved sales and rental processes directly impact and improve productivity at the wellhead. Real-time integration with complex inventories and field level asset management also equates to better forecasting across the entire spectrum of production revenue accounting, resource allocation, and joint venture accounting.

Midstream Oil and Gas Automation

Continued changes in supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA), along with innovations in below-ground technologies, such as stacked laterals, zipper fracking and others, have improved drilling efficiencies in the multi-well pad dominant landscape. SCADA is widely leveraged across the upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas sectors, and insights from cross-sector data are driving significant improvements in economies of scale and asset utilization. However, as production output for oil and gas continues to improve, especially in the US, midstream transportation and shipping capacities are being challenged, and the pipeline crunch continues to moderate otherwise unprecedented growth. In some instances, market losses for some pure-play drillers in the Permian Basin have amounted to billions of dollars. Similarly, Higher LNG production and demand is also driving new infrastructure development, including liquefaction facilities, pipelines, and shipping terminals.

This environment of rapid change is a perfect opportunity for highly competitive oil and gas companies to build an automation framework that combines advanced BPM with attended and unattended RPA.

Downstream Oil and Gas Automation

Downstream oil and gas processes are becoming increasingly complex, and as a direct consequence of RPA driven process modeling and reengineering are often responsible for significant productivity improvements. Modern downstream organizations can potentially rely upon a wide variety of activities, including the refining, processing, and purification of crude oil and raw natural gas, to the production and marketing of various end products, such as lubricants, diesel oil, or petrol. Typical back office work processes spanning multiple systems, such as pricing, quotes, order management, shipping, invoicing, reporting and monitoring, are prime candidates for robotic process automation.

Oil and Gas RPA Resources

Client Testimonial: Seventy Seven Energy

Seventy Seven Energy shares how Clear Software reduced their 52 screen process to a single screen. This reduced training and development costs, reduced errors, and increased employee productivity. The savings and increased cashflow in their Order to Cash process was dramatic and immediate.

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Infographic: Digital Transformation and Automation in the Oil & Gas Industry

We've been working heavily in assisting clients in the oil & gas industry implement business process automation. Because of fluctuations in prices within the energy industry, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is becoming an imperative to increase efficiencies in upstream, midstream, and downstream oil & gas companies.

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