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Data and technology to combat waste in the UK

28.04.2014 / Energyboardroom

The UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) faces new challenges in a new era; mainly dealing with consistent oil prices but rising exploration and production (E&P) costs. Additionally, the UKCS is widely recognized as a mature basin with assets that are approaching, or have even surpassed, their intended lifespan. The challenges present in the current environment has ignited a powerful need for innovation- a movement which could deliver exciting opportunities.

Petrotechnics, a technology leader that provides operational and risk management solutions, understands the obstacles facing the UKCS today. CEO Phil Murray started Petrotechnics in 1989 and has transformed it into a technological powerhouse. Murray states, “Back in the 1990s, PCs were becoming available to senior executives. It was my opinion that this technology could change and improve operations in the oil and gas industry.” Murray convinced himself of technology’s future influence to such an extent that he mortgaged his own house to start Petrotechnics. His fierce ambition led to innovative technological developments and an 85 percent utilization rate of Petrotechnics technology in the North Sea.

The industry regularly recognizes Petrotechnics as a company of excellence and has received awards for growth strategy, human resource management, software development, and contribution to health and safety in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea. Murray attributes the team’s success to a company ethos of aiming to be the best in everything. This approach illustrates how Petrotechnics can boast 50 thousand users spread across 390 working sites in 22 countries. “We took a disruptive innovation and built it into a successful product,” explains Murray.  An integrative approach and total control on all aspects of software development ensures Petrotechnics avoids the technical problems that plague other software developers.

This disruptive innovation became the industry standard and launched a new strategy that led to the creation of an enterprise software system. Derived from Sentinel Pro data, Petrotechnics identified a niche for an enterprise software system that could fuse planning and maintenance management. “Proscient is our new product and fills this enterprise space, managing not only how work is undertaken safely, but how the broader operation risk is managed, how the execution of ‘planning work’ is completed,” explains Murray. Petrotechnics’ approach attacks inefficiency as the key to increase revenue. This reflects the industry view that production efficiency is declining where production costs are rising. Rather than cut costs as a short term solution, argues Murray, increasing value will drive efficiency which then provides a more sustainable growth strategy. Simply, more work must be done with fewer staff. Proscient succeeds because it turns risk into a universal language.

Petrotechnics knows that this goal is based on safety conditions of the work environment. Murray explains that “platforms in the CRINE (Cost Reduction in the New Era) were built as cheaply as possible. ”The poor infrastructure installed is directly responsible for inefficiency and a lack of production; thus increasing risk. The concept of risk differs from safety as it encompasses a broader range of matters. To make this information easily accessible, Petrotechnics developers have introduced mobile programs for the iPad and iPhone to facilitate planning operations and reduce risk – all steps that cement Petrotechnics as the technological operations guru for the oil and gas industry.

The British Growth Fund invested GBP 6 million (USD 10.11 million) in Petrotechnics, a strong sign of confidence by an SME investor and as Proscient continues to enter the oil and gas industry, Petrotechnics keeps an optimistic eye for opportunities to expand abroad. Murray summarizes the Petrotechnics growth strategy as ‘Back to the Future’ and elucidates, “We have built a reputation on delivering reliable and solid products and we simply need to replicate this success while championing emerging technology in order to grow”. An international company with a dedication to Aberdeen, Petrotechnics could be the reason that the North Sea overcomes its aging problem and remains an efficient, productive basin.

To read more articles and interviews from the UK, and to download the latest free report on the country, click here.

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