Integrity 2020

June 18, 2020

An online conference focusing on the latest developments and innovations in pipeline integrity


Constrained cost strategies for safe and efficient future pipeline operations

The current events which are impacting the oil and gas industry are unprecedented. Even so, as in previous downturns within our industry, we must now contemplate similar actions as have had to be taken historically. The primary action is to reduce the operational cost of production to a point below which we believe is a reasonable assumption of price in both the short and medium term.

Great reductions in operational costs have been achieved in recent years, and now we must go further and achieve additional reductions from already stretched budgets. How do we as an industry go about achieving this? In the very short-term it is possible to reduce head-count, but at what cost?

We acknowledge that as an industry we have a skills-crisis which is expected to grow in importance as more experienced members of staff leave the industry without having had time or opportunity to pass on essential skills and lessons learned in an orderly manner.

At the same time as the events currently unfolding, we as an industry have a choice to make. Industry is well aware of the need for a push towards more efficient digital operations. Many companies however seem to be satisfied with a move towards a simplified version of digitalisation, and indeed there are roadblocks to a full implementation of a digital future which can offer so much more than what the minimum solution is capable of.

Consider for example the recent developments in technology and the ways that the general population use technology to interact and consume data in everyday life, and the ways in which other industries consume and use data. Is the current push for better efficiency of operations within the pipeline industry an opportunity to implement beneficial change at a faster rate than would otherwise be possible?

Penspen believe that we must not just look at the immediate requirements of digitalisation as a response to technological developments but must pre-empt future changes in technology. As responsible pipeline engineers, the way in which we conduct business today must be compatible with the ways in which future engineers will also conduct their businesses.

Penspen believe that the digitalisation of the industry in a haphazard way is not sufficient and that future integrity demands such as implementation of an Industry 4.0 philosophy must be considered now.

This will require industry wide co-operation and industry led guidance to ensure cross-compatibility of data standards globally, both now and for the future of all assets.

The benefits on offer are large. Penspen believe that ultimately those operators which do not embrace change will continue to operate with a higher operational cost of production, along with the consequences that that can have in a low-priced environment.

Penspen will present a vision of future pipeline integrity, the benefits on offer, and the route by which industry can achieve beneficial change and operational cost reduction in an efficient and orderly manner. The roadmap for digital transition which Penspen will present is one possible way in which we as an industry can exit the current period of uncertainty with a stronger industry which is positioned to maintain a lower cost of production for the future.



Aidan Charlton

Aidan Charlton
Technical Manager, Digital Services, Penspen

Aidan excelled in fracture mechanics whilst completing a BEng(Hons) with the Open University, before graduating with an MSc Pipeline Engineering degree with Distinction from Newcastle University.

Aidan is responsible for the research of new methodologies and technical development supporting Penspen digital services.