How Automation Improves Operational Efficiency and Compliance for Oil and Gas Companies

oil and gas automation improves compliance

“In its 2021 report, the International Energy Agency projected global demand for natural gas is expected to increase by 31% by 2040, supplying 17% of total energy consumed worldwide, and global demand for oil will increase by 21%, supplying 35% of total energy consumed,” wrote the Canadian Association of Petroleum Products (CAPP).

The three main challenges faced by the oil and gas industry are:

  • Reducing operating costs to remain competitive

  • Improving performance to ensure optimum utilization of assets

  • Reducing the environmental footprint to meet increasingly stringent standards

To address those challenges, oil and gas companies need to modernize their operations across the organization including production, supply chain, and compliance. Many organizations are using software automation to accomplish much-needed modernization. Companies that successfully upgrade with automation can expect to see cost savings and significant improvements in productivity and revenue.

Traditionally, robotic process automation (RPA) has been widely deployed in horizontal business functions like finance and accounting, human resources (HR), legal and compliance, and information technology (IT). Enterprises have saved thousands of hours and have been able to engage employees in more productive activities, relieving them from mundane tasks. Now, the reach of automation technologies is widening.

New to RPA? Start by reading "What is RPA?".

Over the last decade, automation has evolved with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to:

  • Automate process discovery

  • Build automation solutions infused with AI models

  • Measure the benefits of automation

  • Seamlessly introduce software robots in the workflow to create hybrid work environments

Below are a few areas where automation can play a very significant and productive role in oil and gas organizations.

Democratizing AI across the enterprise

Automation can effectively solve the AI deployment problem and help organizations utilize AI models in business workflows on a continuous basis thanks to AI models’ self-learning capabilities.

UiPath provides technology to effortlessly infuse AI models into workflows across multiple lines of business. The self-learning models become more intelligent over time through auto-training. This allows for more data-driven decisions in business functions like:

  • Demand and production planning

  • Asset reliability

  • Supply chain operations

  • Environment, health, and safety (EHS)

Enabling an overarching engagement layer

Software robots can weave together applications, systems, and software—allowing us to totally reimagine processes. Robots also enable IT and operational technology (OT) systems to exchange information on a near real-time basis. There are a myriad of applications in oil and gas enterprises including:

  • Wells management

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)

  • EHS

  • Asset management

  • Performance management

  • Supervisory control and data acquisition

  • Distributed control system

  • Terminal management

  • Dealer management

Automation can orchestrate interaction across multiple systems and ensure uninterrupted data, alerts, and actions flow across those varied systems.

These can be lightweight integrations implemented quickly via the UiPath Platform. In case of legacy applications with no API support, automation can be used to build user interface (UI)-based integrations. These cross-system integrations will help derive better outcomes from existing applications and investments.

Progressing environment, social, and governance (ESG) commitments

ESG has gone mainstream with most corporate boards and investors talking about it more frequently and seriously. Automation can help with sustainability-related disclosures, compliance reporting, and auditing by providing automated data gathering, consolidating, and intelligent monitoring. Automation can also provide a data integration and interchange layer that connects process manufacturers, suppliers, auditors, global disclosure systems, life cycle analysis (LCA) experts, and governments.

And automation can have a more direct impact. For instance, automating data centers to power down during periods of inactivity can significantly reduce electricity use. Automating document processing reduces paper consumption throughout the enterprise. Using software robots in the supply chain improves employee productivity, and customer and dealer engagement.

Related article: The Valuable Role of Process Automation in Pursuing ESG

The future of automation in oil and gas

Automation (combining RPA and AI) has a massive role to play in improving productivity, reducing costs, and improving compliance in the oil and gas sector in upcoming years. As adoption improves and automation maturity increases, enterprises will uncover new opportunities through citizen developers and will realize strategic competitive advantage.

Read how one oil and gas organization has used RPA to drive key business outcomes and accelerate digital transformation.

rohit kumar uipath
Rohit Kumar

Domain Expert (Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas), UiPath

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