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Engineering students interested in a career in the oil and gas industry should study computer science courses, Jose Jimenez, director of Emerson Automation Solutions’ global oil & gas industry business, said.
“If you are still in school studying hard-core engineering branches (electrical, mechanical, chemical, etc.), make sure you learn some computer science,” Jimenez told Rigzone.
“It will help you better adopt and apply digitalization,” he added.
Digitalization is a phenomenon that’s already occurring within the oil and gas sector, although the change is affecting different companies within the industry at different speeds, Jimenez said.
“Many organizations are struggling with what level of digitalization they can afford and how the organization will absorb it,” he added.
In general however, digitalization within the oil and gas sector is picking up pace, GE Oil & Gas’ Global Head of Digital Products Binu Mathew said.
“When you have oil prices at $100 or above, there’s enough money coming in that you don’t really need to worry about that as much, but if we’re going to be in a sustained phase where … oil prices fluctuate, then the importance of operational efficiency that you can get with digital becomes very, very important,” he added.
Engineering students are well poised to take advantage of this digital shift, according to Jimenez, who stated that the engineering profession within oil and gas will benefit most from digitalization.
“Not only because they will spend less time looking for data, but also because their routine activities can be automated, leaving more time for them to perform critical tasks,” he added.
The implementation of digitalization has worried some members of the wider oil and gas industry who believe that they may be replaced as a result of the practice, despite a number of figureheads claiming it will be good for workers.
Mathew emphasized that the process of digitalization wasn’t targeting the replacement of staff; a point which was backed up by Jimenez.
“The two can work in harmony because the new generations coming into the industry are used to, and expect, advanced technology tools to help them do their work,” Jimenez said.
In a recent Rigzone Twitter poll, the majority of workers said they welcomed the evolution, claiming it would be largely positive for staff in the sector.
Digitalization can improve the working lives of oil and gas staff by removing repetition and freeing up space for creativity, GE Oil & Gas’ Mathew said.
“A lot of what we’re trying to do is to get repetitive, mundane tasks automated. So in terms of getting people not just more productive but also being able to apply more in terms of judgment,” he said.
“One of the examples that we see over and over again with some of our customers is that you get data from one system and data from another system and people are actually manually cutting and pasting, or worse yet, using paper trying to collate all of those things, just to be able to take action. If you’re a production engineer, you don’t want to be wasting your time doing that,” Mathew added.
Digitalization can benefit workers in other areas too, such as health and safety, Mathew stated.
“That’s obviously a very important area for the industry,” he said.
“If we can detect issues either more quickly or if we can deal with dangerous situations through automation … that’s replacing a function that would otherwise be dangerous, error prone, and in general we can improve the lives of the people working on these things,” Mathew added.(Source: Rigzone; by Andreas Exarheas )