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'Skills gap' hitting digitalisation

New DNV GL digital chief warns lack of expertise hindering industry efforts to boost efficiency by harnessing data

Oil companies and contractors are facing a critical skills shortage in processing and applying vast amounts of data amid a rush to digitalisation of operations by the industry, according to the new head of digital solutions at DNV GL.

Players such as Aker BP, Equinor, Lundin Petroleum working off Norway are at the forefront of implementing digital solutions such as multiple data sensors for monitoring of critical systems, digital twins of facilities and artificial intelligence for machine learning on new field projects

Equinor’s giant Johan Sverdrup field, for example, will be the first to come into operation with digitalised systems installed from day one when it is brought online later this year, while Aker BP has facilitated its Ivar Aasen field for remote control from shore based on real-time streaming of data from operations.

Digitalisation of onshore and offshore operations has gathered momentum after a four-year industry slump has raised the focus on boosting efficiency to cut costs.

However, a lack of required skills has earlier been identified by DNV GL in its industry outlook as an emerging barrier to implementation of digitalisation as companies compete for competent staff to build their capabilities in this area.

The digital skills gap was also highlighted by the Norwegian classification firm’s newly appointed digital solutions chief executive Kenneth Vareide in taking up the position this week, as well as the challenges facing oil and gas players in processing vast amounts of data contained in so-called data silos as it is transmitted from operating facilities.

He also warned that digitalisation could actually be adding another layer of complexity to operations rather than aiding efficiency, while raising the issue of cybersecurity as the industry becomes more vulnerable to hacking threats and hijacking of digital systems.

Vareide, who oversees more than 1000 digital specialists at DNV GL, said “we are in a constant dialogue with our customers and we are committed to providing solutions that bridge their digital skills gap”.

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