Petr Niedoba, General Manager Middle East and Africa, OSIsoft

In the second of an exclusive series of interviews with our 2017 Energy Digitalisation Summit Middle East speakers, Petr Niedoba, General Manager Middle East and Africa, OSIsoft shares his views on the digital transformation of the energy industry.  

'The PI System is used by over 80% of the worlds leading oil, gas and power companies to collect and manage all their operational real-time. We keep enhancing our technology to support the new strategies based around IoT and Big Data concepts. We see a great potential in capturing all existing and new sensor data in one software infrastructure across the enterprise, leveraging data contextualization in our Asset Framework for enhanced and predictive analytics. OSIsoft truly believes that people with data can transform the world.'

How do you see digital transformation reshaping the energy sector?
We are in the midst of an incredible period of digitization across many of the world's industrial economies. Having started in media and IT, we now see industries such as oil and gas and power generation following closely behind with huge business potential. We are on the verge of a transformation - something spectacular, more interest in ‘our’ operational data than ever before in a market where it is easier to see what things will look like in 10 years than it is to see the next step to get there.

What is driving innovation in digital transformation – strategy, technologies or both?
Technology developments are the enabler that makes digital transformation possible today, but the key to making it happen is strong vision and support from company leadership. Studies show that digital leaders outperform their peers on revenue, profitability and overall returns.

How is OSIsoft driving innovation in digital transformation?
OSIsoft has been in the Real Time data business since 1980. Our first customers have accumulated 30+ years of historical data in their systems and still can access it today as easily as the data from yesterday. We reinvest a significant portion of our revenue back in R&D, to help our customers with challenges on their digitalization path: we have developed over 450 interfaces as an answer to multiple protocols from industrial data sources. 

Our OSIsoft Asset Framework now allows for critical structure and context to be associated to data, linking the ever growing mass of tagnames to the hierarchy of production assets well understood by operations. In doing so, raw data suddenly becomes meaningful information and is an enabler for automated advanced analytics that can compare similar assets, vendors, process units or plants easily. 

Our Integrators bridge the OT domain with IT and enterprise data systems. Our visualization tools make it easy for users to build their own displays and then share them with colleagues on their mobile devices instantly. 

Our systems are highly scalable – one of our customers already deploys over 29 million data tags and we have demonstrated the capability to process 70 million data streams on one PI server – so we are ready to cope with the data deluge that will come.

Are you able to give a use case study or an example of a company that has applied digital transformation in the energy sector and how this has tangibly improved its business?
We are lucky that our customers share enthusiastically their success stories at our annual User Conferences. We can provide many documented examples, showing improvements in Operational Excellence, Process Optimization, Condition Based Maintenance, Energy Efficiency, Emissions Monitoring, Asset Managements and Cost Reduction.  

Let me give you one example from the power sector and one from oil and gas; 

At Verve Energy, plant information was only available at the site and was not standardized. Many different toolsets were in use and as such, sites were not integrated and solutions could not be shared. It then introduced the PI System as the standard method of collecting and accessing all plant information, enabling on site and fleet wide monitoring of assets. The standardized toolset also allowed for the creation of a steering committee and key user group that helped facilitate the use of the system and enabled the sharing of ideas across the entire company. As a result, the plant efficiency was increased, maintenance and availability were optimized and capacity payments for forced outages were reduced. Estimated savings in the first year were $2.5 million, $6.97 million per year in fuel savings with the outlook of more than $10 million improvements year on year.

Shell has been a long time user of the PI system, now with over 20 years of data and over 7.5 million connected devices in its system. Shell use the PI system as a foundational building block in its Smart Foundation Toolkit, it is its single and central repository for all operational real-time data and it serves applications and advanced analytics across its Upstream, Midstream and Downstream businesses. Shell have recently reported that in its 20 years of use of PI it has received more than $200 million of value from the system.

What role does IoT play in the digital transformation journey in the energy sector?
IoT brings cheaper sensors that can be easily deployed across operational assets without the need to get close to critical process control infrastructure. IoT sensors don’t have to be routed via traditional SCADA or DCS systems, instead they can talk directly to edge devices and send their data directly into PI. More data allows for better understanding of what’s really going on in the assets and allows for even more optimization, cost reduction and safety improvements.

Is Big Data really the new oil? 
Some similarities give this comparison a sense. You have to plug in to sources of data, store it, process it and then it becomes something of extremely high value. The information can improve businesses by millions of dollars just at a single site, so the potential value to worldwide business can be measured in $trillions at least.