Being one of the hottest topics in any energy forum or think tank, operational efficiency is paramount for the success of any economy, especially in today’s atmosphere which values that endurance counts the most for survival. While economic experts may agree that optimizing operational efficiency is a must and main priority for policymakers, economic strategies and approaches may vary based on the general situation of a particular country or region. Nonetheless, there is a consensus that one of the most important strategies is taking measures to boost the role of information technology within the energy sector while opening the country up to investment by creating lucrative, attractive opportunities.
Adopting economic policies that promise foreign investors stability is the first essential step to optimize operational efficiency. As the financial aspect of any healthy economy plays a pivotal role in its well-being, it can also act as a catalyst and provide the fiscal power needed to accelerate measures to enhance operational efficiency and drive production. For this reason, creating an economy with flexibility in its investment regulations is essential in ensuring that the wheels of the energy sector are well-oiled and ready to turn.
Allocating state resources to bolstering technological development forms a fundamental of securing the necessary investments needed to enhance operation efficiency. The emergence of sophisticated digital platforms for investment through bid rounds, such as the Egypt Upstream Gateway (EUG), has been a key enabler in the improved operational efficiency that has been witnessed up till today, pouring the necessary financial resources needed to meet the costs of the training, digitalization, and asset maintenance.
Foreign investment can also help bridge the gap between the limited facilities available locally and the unlimited technical and financial resources available on an international level to boost operational efficiency. It goes without saying that when foreign investments are put into key assets within the country, it is within the mutual interest of the host country (such as Egypt) and a foreign investor to ensure that all measures taken to optimize operational efficiency are up to an acceptable level.
This is why flexible policies that bypass traditional bureaucracies must be adopted, especially when applying regulations to joint ventures (JVs) and other multinational partnerships that apply world-class technologically superior methods onsite to revive the local energy sector.
With increased investment, digitalization can also play its role in optimizing the operation of onsite equipment as well as asset monitoring and maintenance practices to ensure that returns to the companies and investors experience sustainable growth. Once confidence is fully secured, this can be a tool to attract even more investments and additional talent that can contribute to the enhancement of operational efficiency.
“The integration of digital processes into operations enables fundamental processes such as the predictive maintenance of machinery, remote monitoring of field operations, and the collection and standardization of data with instant, reliable, and easily accessible information on modern intelligent digital platforms. This transformation is then complemented with the incorporation of AI (Artificial Intelligence) that can use and coordinate these various tools to help make business decisions in which delays or the inability to act agilely can trigger logistics nightmares or significant hidden costs. With so many new operational, labor and health processes that this new reality has generated for this sector, society’s expectations regarding its efficiency and its companies are increasing. These expectations and demands are stronger than ever,” said Enrique Mallea in the article titled “Technology leads to operational efficiency in the energy sector”.
Building an environment that encourages private sector cooperation both inside and outside of any country is also vital for ensuring that operational efficiency reaches its full potential. Investments must be directed to the building of open platforms of communication where experts can communicate and learn to enhance operational efficiency within the country in the most effective way possible.
“Parallel to handling, digitalizing, and cleaning the data, companies must ensure collaboration with a robust and well-aligned partner ecosystem. Bringing operators on board such as the OSDU Forum, academia, and technology partners will result in the optimum foundation for the next step; getting the organization on board. These partners, as well as the often geographically spread-out employees, must be provided with the technological framework that can utilize the data as well as scale up the digitalization project with no operational delays. This will most likely require a cloud-based solution, which in turn has the benefit of moving digital operations away from the engineers’ trust “Excel on steroids” and onto AI and machine learning-driven platforms that can leverage the data to its full capacity,” said experts from Kongsberg Digital in their article titled “How can the Energy industry achieve Operational Efficiency and remain cost-competitive?”.
With a global market that has become increasingly competitive and demands robust performance for emerging economies, operational efficiency is an essential ingredient for economic survival and building endurance for the rough tides ahead. As operational efficiency is a critical aspect of any growing energy sector, it should be the specific focus of policymakers and corporate officials who need to lead the pack and build new roads to a more prosperous future.