Top 5 Insights from ConocoPhillips

In the lead up to Intelligent Automation in Oil and Gas 2020in Houston, we sat down with Mark Hutcherson, Director of Operational Excellence at ConocoPhillips, to discuss how the company are using predictive analytics to drive real time production optimisation. In this article, we will be breaking down the top five most valuable insights Mark had to share from his experience at ConocoPhillips.

The state of OE function at ConocoPhillips

The group is small, but very active in work on operations, continuous improvement, and operational safety performance. There is also a focus on knowledge sharing in order to identify initiatives, innovations, and data analytics. While a lot of operations remain the same, the aim is to become leaner and more efficient.

New projects and innovations

Organising data is a main enabler, and collating data into data warehouses makes it more efficient for engineers to access and analyse. There is also a big push to incorporate supply chain and inventory management, known as ‘digital twins’.

Another technology ConocoPhillips are delving into is unmanned aerial systems. They have begun using drones for pipeline inspection, surveillance, flare tip inspection, etc. There is a big push to evolve this technology and integrate it into more facets of the business, such as getting operators out of dangerous machinery and using drones for remote surveillance of facilities.


Tech adoption and communication

Leadership have assisted in pushing the benefits of using new technologies. There is a growing framework and strategy for disseminating the technology across all business units and functions.

It is important to communicate a lower risk-higher reward mentality that encourages employees to take the right kinds of risks to be successful. When exploring innovations, there has to be an understanding that the benefits are not always obvious.


Utilising technology in analytics

Working with data scientists, operations are incorporating machine learning algorithms for condition monitoring and asset performance management initiatives. Using the computing power at their disposal, ConocoPhillips are monitoring data points 24/7 and comparing them to manufacturing specifications and industry data.

This contributes to the preventative maintenance program by enabling the preemptive prediction of failures before they have the chance to occur. This is going to have a massive impact on organizational efficiency as in the past preventative maintenance has been designed on overly conservative assumptions. The crucial aspect of this is the ability to have continuous and accurate data coming in. Newer facilities have an easier time of this, but some legacy assets are struggling to come up to the speed of some of the newer assets.


Looking forward

Advancing technology means workers spend less time at desks searching for anomalies and opportunities, and more time looking at things as exceptions. Using algorithms and machine learning, things can be quickly identified that require more analysis. In the future these activities will be completely automated without manual intervention, allowing engineers to be more efficient and plan ahead more effectively for the next innovation.


You can find out more about how the ConocoPhillips are using predictive analytics to drive real time production optimisation in detail from Mark Hutcherson in our in-depth interview here.

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