OPINION: COMBINE 'HUMAN' EXPERTISE WITH AI TO ACHIEVE RESULTS

OPEX’s Predictive Solutions Advisor, Colin Shearer, has been a pioneer and thought leader in AI and advanced analytics for over 25 years. In this article Colin discusses why it’s important to combine human expertise with artificial intelligence to achieve business outcomes.

Colin Shearer, Principal Advisor - Predictive Solutions

Obsessed with AI

Today there are new challenges in the industrial analytics space in the triangle between advanced analytics software, the profession of data scientists and deep domain knowledge.

The biggest trend I am seeing is that people are obsessed with…. sorry… seeing the potential of AI. In around 2010 we saw the Big Data wave which has now blended into the AI wave. Both have had a positive effect in that most senior executives now appreciate there’s potential value in these technologies. But their organisations often have no clue how to proceed, and so they embark on what end up being science projects.

Data excitement is a pitfall here – the idea that simply throwing data at smart technologies will give transformational results. It doesn’t, and that’s leaving a lot of would-be adopters disappointed.

Blind faith in AI will eventually fade, as the value of incorporating human expertise becomes more and more evident.

Focus on Business Outcomes

The combination of data, advanced analytics tools, data scientists and domain experts is powerful, but it’s crucial to have the business outcome in sight. It’s business first and tools later. In industry it may be prevention of unplanned shutdowns, solving quality problems, efficiency gains and much more.

Projects have to be driven by business problems and goals because these determine which analytics approach to use and which data to apply it to.

And you have to plan from the start around how your business will benefit. It doesn’t matter how technically brilliant your analytical work is; until you do something effective with the results and enhance your current operations it is meaningless.

Getting AI right has the potential to transform virtually every aspect of business, with improved decision-making driving better outcomes across the board. This is also the case for industrial analytics, where it is possible to embed analytics in the process.

Real Time is too Late

In manufacturing and industry real time is too late. A lot of cost and effort has gone into deploying condition monitoring, but the end result is usually a blizzard of alarms that surface when the equipment is already seriously damaged, often too late to prevent unscheduled downtime.

It is so much more powerful and valuable to get an early warning hours, days or weeks ahead, in time to adjust and avoid unplanned production failure or quality issues. And today, the streams of data painting a highly complex picture of system and process behaviour give you the possibility to predict and prevent through the knowledge of correlations and causality in data.

To me it is quite obvious that success and value in industrial analytics comes from bringing together a relevant business problem, the scientists or engineers knowing the process and product, and the data scientists with an advanced toolbox. While you may now utilise big data, sensor data and a whole array of new analytics capabilities, you cannot get the outcome you need unless you include the layer of human expertise.

Big Data is a source for improvement for companies, but its value is only released when it’s combined with human expertise.

Machines and GDPR

In contrast to the challenges we currently face in other application areas for advanced analytics: machines do not care about GDPR! So adding sensors, adding more and more streams of data to be exploited with analytics is the way to go. The key point is, though, that you can’t reap the benefits unless you analyse in the context of your domain knowledge.

Today’s analytical technologies can deliver new levels of knowledge, and are key to more automation, greater predictive power and significant value contributions. But you need to align these powerful tools with scientists and engineers who understand the complexity of the systems and processes being analysed.

The Industrial Revolution of Analytics

Just like the way manufacturing was transformed, the craftsmen in analytics will also face an industrialisation. Stand-alone one-man analytics doesn’t deliver results efficiently and it doesn’t scale. Data science needs to go through its own equivalent of the Industrial Revolution, with more focus on automation and deployment.

The base line for me is, that it’s not just a matter of applying smart technology; it’s essential to incorporate human domain expertise. In industry deep knowledge about systems and process engineering is at the heart of the analytical approach, and this knowledge is key to interpreting the output of the analyses.

Breakthrough recommendations derived from analytics in a complex process are most effectively delivered “expert to expert”.

Adapted with permission from Camo Analytics who originally published a broader editorial as part of their Industrial Analytics Thought Leadership series.

INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED BEHAVIOURAL PSYCHOLOGIST JOINS OPEX

We have recently welcomed Eugene Burke to OPEX in the role of Principal Advisor for Behavioural Psychology to support the delivery of our X-PAS™ Smart Behaviours service.

Named by LinkedIn as one of the top global influencers in the field of people analytics, Eugene’s career spans roles as an applied psychologist, psychometrician, data scientist, and advisor to companies across the globe, as well as leadership roles in professional bodies including the British Psychological Society and the Association of Test Publishers.

Eugene Burke, Principle Advisor - Behavioural Psychology

Eugene will play a key role in the delivery of X-PAS™ Smart Behaviours, a new service that has been developed by OPEX to help oil and gas operators improve the safety and predictability of offshore operations by managing the risks posed by human behaviour.

Chris Ayres, Chief Operating Officer, said: “It’s a real coup for us to have someone of Eugene’s standing as part of the X-PAS™ Smart Behaviours team.

“We’ve brought together expertise in behavioural psychology, data science and oil and gas operations to offer a new approach to help oil and gas operators identify and quantify the levels of behavioural risk that exist across their offshore facilities and work teams.”

Eugene Burke said: “I’m delighted to be working with the OPEX team on such a new and exciting proposition. The oil & gas industry’s imaginative and passionate approach to managing safety has delivered significant improvements, but there remains one area that continues to pose a significant challenge – managing behavioural risk.

“By combining behavioural diagnostics with a deep analysis of operational and HSE data, we can reveal an opganisation’s unique ‘behavioural DNA’ and the critical factors that act to amplify the potential for incidents and disruption to offshore operations.

“This new level of actionable insight puts oil and gas operators on the front foot in understanding what they need to do to reduce incidents and strengthen operational predictability.”

THE FUTURE OF UPSTREAM

SPE Offshore Europe has published it’s latest Industry Insights report which focuses on the Future of Upstream.

OPEX’s Senior VP, Roy Buchan, is one of eight industry experts who contributed to the report alongside representatives from Shell, Worley Parsons, Beckhoff, DNV GL, OGA, Aker Solutions and Ardent.

Offshore Europe Whitepaper.jpg

The report focuses on 4 key issues affecting the industry - Technology & Innovation, Operational Efficiency, Energy Transition and Decommissioning. In the report Roy discusses the importance of operational efficiency since the downturn and the future of the workforce.

You can download a copy of the report here.

Operational Efficiency Quote

MEET THE TEAM AT OGV INNOVATE

OPEX is taking part in the OGV Innovate event in Aberdeen later this week.

As well as showcasing our range of X-PAS™ Predictive Analysis Services at the exhibition we will also be presenting at the conference, discussing how oil and gas operators can maximise the value of their operational data.

  • Thursday 11th April, 9am-5pm

  • The Village Hotel, Aberdeen

  • Meet the team at Stand 12.

With 22 exhibitors and 12 guest speakers you can book your place at the event here.

OPEX Group at OGV Innovate

OPEX GROUP APPOINTS NEW SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT

We are delighted to welcome Roy Buchan to OPEX Group as Senior Vice-President. In this new role Roy will help to shape the future direction and growth of the company, ensuring our services meet the needs of our customers.

Roy, who also joins our Board of Directors, has over 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry. His career spans executive leadership roles with a number of operating companies, including Ithaca, Talisman and Shell, as well as a wealth of international experience in operations and asset management.

Roy Buchan, Senior Vice President, OPEX Group

Jamie Bennett, CEO, said: “Roy’s appointment injects significant operator experience into our team and we are thrilled to welcome him onboard. His extensive experience in both leadership and operational roles affords us invaluable insights into the key challenges facing operators in the oil and gas industry today.

“Applying Roy’s understanding and experience to our existing expertise in data science and predictive technologies will help us foster closer relationships with customers as we work with them to maximise the value of their operational data.”

Roy said: “With a passion to improve safety and increase oil and gas production performance, joining OPEX Group gives me a great opportunity to combine my experience with the latest technologies to help our customers achieve exceptional results."


THE IMPACT DIGITAL INNOVATION IS HAVING ON THE UK OFS SECTOR

Our COO, Chris Ayres, took part in today’s launch of EY’s annual Review of the UK Oilfield Services (OFS) sector.

At the event in Aberdeen, attended by more than 120 people, the key findings of the report were presented. As part of a panel alongside BP's Ariel Flores, Robert Gordon University's Paul De Leeuw and EY's Celine Delacroix, Chris discussed the positive impact that digital innovation is having on the sector.

FOCUSING ON GAS COMPRESSION

It’s been a great start to the year for OPEX as we welcome yet another new customer this month, a leading independent E&P company who operates a number of assets in the UKCS.

Ahead of going live with our X-PAS™ Smart Production service, over the next four weeks our data scientists will work with the operator’s existing operational data to build a number of predictive models to allow our team to accurately predict the future performance and behaviour of the gas compression system on one of their legacy assets.

This continues to build on our track record across multiple gas compression systems.

oil and gas data analytics

X-PAS™ APPLIED ACROSS MULTIPLE OFFSHORE PLATFORMS

An existing customer has extended the X-PAS™ Smart Production service to another of their North Sea assets. As part of the new agreement, our team of data scientists have built a series of bespoke predictive models to continuously monitor and analyse the gas compression and water injection systems on the installation.

Following this extension, OPEX are now delivering predictive analysis services to multiple systems across the customer’s entire UK North Sea operating portfolio.

Predictive Analytics for Oil and Gas