In a time of uncertainty, get a firm grip on operations

How will the technology landscape evolve in the still-to-be-determined “new normal”?

By Tim Edward April 15, 2020

Even with the world at a momentary standstill, operators in the midstream oil & gas industry can’t put pipeline safety on hold. Too much is riding on it.

Pipeline integrity management is the process in which pipeline integrity engineers develop an IMP (integrity management program), manage and measure pipelines to determine if they are operating in a safe, reliable manner. IMP systems consider all stages of the pipeline life cycle. CIM focuses on operation, inspection, and finally to repair or replacement.

In just the few short weeks since COVID-19 became a global pandemic, integrity management teams have been forced to change how and where they work, and to do it fast. Makeshift offices have been carved out of closets and kitchens.

Yet relying on residential internet can be a slow and frustrating experience for people accustomed to the stellar technical infrastructure their companies offer.

For integrity management teams, it makes accessing mission-critical data more difficult. Without the data, teams are challenged to meet assessment and reporting requirements. This complicates making important decisions that keep pipelines operating smoothly and safely.

Other complications arise as well. When PwC surveyed CFOs the week of March 9, more than half (54%) said the outbreak could have a significant impact on their business operations. Even more (58%) said they thought the pandemic would decrease revenues or profit.

Financial uncertainty is causing some companies to rethink their budgets and investments, including allocations to technology. As we face the pandemic challenge, we are already undergoing an historic digital transformation. Cutting back now on the very tools that make people more efficient and productive is not the best approach.

Complete the transformation

As more of us use technology to collaborate with peers and work from home, these initiatives are more important than ever, Vijay Gurbaxani, founding director of the Center for Digital Transformation, recently wrote.

Not only is digital innovation part of future-proofing, i.e., preparing for any contingency — from geopolitical crises to environmental threats to the next global health catastrophe — it is essential to keep business moving at this very moment, even if the starting point is a kitchen table at three in the morning.

If ever there was a time to embrace digital transformation, that time is now, because the new normal is the normal going forward.

For example, with One Bridge Solutions’ Cognitive Integrity Management (CIM) system, owner operators can improve business continuity efforts and be better prepared for what’s next.

Big Data analytics was transforming the oil & gas information landscape before the COVID-19 outbreak. With co-workers being miles, rather than cubicles, apart, digital intelligence and cloud computing are more important than ever. If you haven’t transitioned to the cloud yet, there’s no better time. Not only will it keep colleagues connected during social distancing, it will be more advantageous as remote working becomes more entrenched in the future. Cognitive Integrity Management allows integrity program management in real-time from anywhere.

Compliance and continuity

At OneBridge, our priority is supporting integrity management efforts. We know that when it’s anything but business-as-usual, your business mission is still the same: To mitigate pipeline failures, protect assets, safeguard the environment and, most important of all, save lives.

With a CIM solution, you can improve continuity immediately. Your team’s day-to-day operations can continue without disruption, working remotely. You’ll continue to have access to the data and tools needed to conduct all aspects of integrity management processes, for entire pipeline systems.

Compliance and enterprise-level functions and reports are available across the board, ensuring transparency and integration of information throughout the organization — a huge advantage over a siloed data approach.

The secure CIM database merges seamlessly into existing processes. Microsoft Azure cloud computing offers unparalleled security — the best in the business. The system is scalable based on your needs and accessible from any location — all that’s required is access to the Internet.

The solution helps you avoid tribal knowledge constraints, e.g., if someone on your team becomes unavailable. Wherever they are, your entire team can be up and running in minutes.

All it takes is CIM, running on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform — next generation technology that allows increased efficiency and productivity.

There’s no question: Disruption is all around us. But so is opportunity. By increasing technological capabilities now, including transitioning to cloud solutions, companies can emerge from a period of unprecedented upheaval stronger than ever.

This is a tough time for everyone. Fortunately, there’s new technology, Cognitive Integrity Management, to help to smooth the transition to a work-from-home world. Companies that adopt it now will have a significant competitive edge in the future.

Original content can be found at Oil and Gas Engineering.

Author Bio: Tim Edward has spent the past 22 years pioneering software applications for the pipeline industry. He was founder of Baseline Technologies Inc., which successfully developed new processes to analyze ILI data in 1997. He subsequently pioneered development of new Public Awareness processes and other specialized software functionality for the industry. Tim functions as the head of the Innovation Lab at OneBridge, in his visionary role to move cutting edge projects forward.