Asset Management Automation IIoT

Cloud Technology Partnerships in Energy Push Maintenance Forward

Grant Gerke | December 22, 2017


Technology partnerships in manufacturing and, in particular, with the asset management sector were one of many trends in 2017. Efficient Plant reported on HIROTEC, a Tier One automotive supplier, and how they worked with PTC on a machine-monitoring, pilot project for a Detroit plant. The upshot of the project included the ability for upper management to see quick results and estimate return on investments (ROI) with this Agile-based project.

HIROTEC is global and so is Chevron Corp., which recently announced a seven-year agreement with Microsoft back in late Fall to be the primary cloud provider for the oil and gas company.

“We already have a head start in digitizing our oilfields, but we want to accelerate our deployment of new technologies that position us to increase our revenues, lower our costs, and improve the safety and reliability of our operations,” says Joe Geagea, executive vice president of technology, projects and services for Chevron.

The big driver for this move was the bottom dropping out of crude oil in 2014 and 2015, but the industry’s exposure to better data visibility is now a slam dunk in late 2017.The supermajors have moved away from big exploration projects — moving away from expensive Arctic — and targeted process optimization in the fields and even downstream.

According to Chevron, the Microsoft strategic partnership is part of Chevron’s overall digitization initiative, a multi-year effort to streamline information technology (IT) operations around a digital core connecting the company’s engineers and operations through nimble analytics and increased automation.

A “digital core” or some kind of standard for upstream reporting is a hard challenge for Chevron, which has numerous exploration and production (E&P) companies that float under the umbrella of the parent company. Many E&P acquisitions that never moved one common automation and controls platform and resulted in many disparate systems. So, standardizing and having data visibility in the cloud is vital for the future of oil as demand keep trending downward.

Many cloud companies are targeting this nascent trend in oil and gas, with companies like Silicon Valley-based Elemental Analytics also using Microsoft’s Azure platform. Stay tuned for more partnerships in 2018.





Grant Gerke

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