Getac: How IoT via Remote Assistance Can Help Close the Skills Gap

One thing is clear: the Oil and gas industry faces a lack of skills in all aspects of the business, including drill specialists, subsea specialists, health and safety specialists, project engineers and geoscientists.

To tackle this problem of skills shortage, the industry is applying the latest innovative technologies. These include investments in artificial intelligence (AI), industrialInternet of Things (IIoT), and automating. The industry is also considering remote assistance technologies intended to partially solve the recruitment problem.

The problem of the skills gap

There are several reasons for a lack of skills in the industry, according to a recent report 2019 Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) Report. These include previous layoffs caused by the industry downturn in 2016 resulting in the loss of the North Sea 120,000 jobs. This has resulted in subsequent reductions in graduate recruitment and apprenticeship vacancies. Additionally, today’s workers see growing industries such as technology and renewable energy as potential employment opportunities.

The report predicts that these recruitment problems are likely to worsen over the next few years. The report surveyed 17,000 industry professionals where at least 40% of respondents believed that a recruitment crisis had already hit the sector. 28% of respondents expect the crisis to set in within the next five years.

For example, the North Sea oil and gas industry will need to recruit approximately 25,000 people over the next six years. This includes 4,500 to do work that does not yet exist. the OGUK Workforce Report 2019 said the total number of people employed in the industry will decline by 15,000 by 2025 as fields dry up and more tasks are automated.

Why there is a skills problem

There are several reasons why there is a skills shortage; it is partly a demographic, image, gender and digital problem. In the case of demography, depending on the Global Energy Talent Index 2019, the the industry’s workforce is aging; at least 18% of the workforce is over 55 years old. While only 4% are under 25 years old. This means that there are not enough young people recruited to replace the staff destined for retirement.

Moreover, currently 90% of workers in the industry are men – a very visible difference. As the industry and its workforce needs evolve, it is no longer viable for oil and gas companies to depend on male-dominated talent to meet demand.

Finally, the arrival of new technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence and the industrial Internet of things is changing the way industry works and functions. Because of this, we are seeing new types of jobs with job descriptions, duties and responsibilities that have not existed for a few years. Unfortunately, many of the people with such skills are in high demand in other sectors of the economy as well.

The problems of attracting new talent

Then there is an image problem. According to the GETI 2019 report, fewer millennials are choosing the oil and gas sector. In fact, it was the number one industry that millennials wanted to avoid working for due to its poor public image.

Many millennials see the oil and gas industry as a declining industry. Millennials believe the industry lacks opportunities to do meaningful work, as well as innovation and agility. Such aspirations are the main drivers of career choice within this age group. According to The talent pool, only 2% of U.S. college graduates see the oil and gas industry as their first choice for employment.

How can technology help fill the skills gap in the oil and gas industry?

Increasingly, we are seeing the oil and gas industry applying Internet of Things technology to help combat the lack of skills. Industry uses internet of things connected sensors that monitor and manage equipment remotely. This helps reduce the need for skilled workers. For example, we increasingly see each piece of equipment on a oil rig equipped with a network of sensors. The data collected is transmitted to a central control room. This is where every aspect of the state of the platform is monitored, evaluated and managed. Due to technological advancements, a management center could be located in Houston. The team of experts could provide remote support to platforms around the world.

Due to the application of the industrial internet of things technology the workforce on the platforms is declining. This is due to the increasing use of automation and artificial intelligence. For example, an oil rig in the North Sea that required a crew of 100 ten years ago now has a crew of 10. In fact, some are only used during the day.

Today, a growing number of land platforms are unmanned. The first one unmanned automated platform is supported remotely using Internet of Things technologies, to manage the installation in real time. The platform was commissioned in October 2018 in the North Sea by the Norwegian energy giant Equinor, formerly Statoil. the Oseberg H platform costs £ 606million and has no accommodation or even a toilet. It is fully automated and only requires one or two maintenance visits per year. It is also the first fully automated oil and gas platform.

Meanwhile, offshore support vessels supplying cargo to the offshore platforms of the future will be automated. Because, the first in the world remote assisted automated container ship, the Yara Birkeland, should start work in 2020. The introduction of controlled by manautomated vessels is likely to significantly reduce operating costs. Because around 90% of operational costs come from salaries.

By using a similar set of technologies, the industry is increasingly using augmented reality to visualize real-time data and analytics for operators, both remote offshore production facilities and onshore experts.

The need for digital skills

The DNV GL report “Digitization and the future of energy»Surveyed nearly 2,000 engineers and senior executives, from start-ups to large companies in the energy sector. The report mentioned the need for digital skills training. Data science and big data analysis are also the most important digital skills. 65% of organizations need employees with creative problem-solving skills.

Nicolas newman

Nicholas Newman is an Oxford-based journalist, blogger, editor and consultant who covers a range of topics in the global energy, technology and transportation sectors as they apply to the mining, markets, regulation, taxation and policy.

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