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Embracing digital transformation

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

By moving away from siloed spreadsheets to a standardised cloud-based platform, digital transformation can occur fairly rapidly, says Febin Jose, Product Manager, Technical Toolboxes, USA.

Embracing digital transformation

Despite software’s prevalence in nearly every facet of our personal lives, the oil and gas industry remains one of the biggest laggards when it comes to permanently embracing new technologies within standard operating procedures (SOPs). This is especially true within midstream pipeline engineer-ing, where the modern ‘pen and paper’ method of performing calculations is generally performed within a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel vs more advanced software designed specifically for that purpose. Whether it is a lack of awareness as to more advanced digital solutions, or the ‘we’ve always done it that way’ risk-adverse attitude within an organisation, the lack of adoption of holistic digital transformation for pipeline engineering is setting pipeline operators and service providers back in their efforts to generate the most accurate calculations that reduce risk and shorten time spent on projects.


Many seasoned pipeline engineers have used spreadsheets for decades to successfully calculate pipeline characteristics, and to help determine where and when a pipeline may need additional measurement or remediation. They’ve been popular for a reason – they’re available on nearly every computer and are flexible to calculate nearly anything an engineer wishes, so long as they’re the ones that create the formulas to do so. The prevalence of spreadsheets and their flexibility in use are reasons they’ve become so popular for calculations, but they’re also two of the main reasons they’re holding organisations back in terms of producing quality data that is action-able across an organisation. When considering a broader strategy of how to manage pipeline engineering data across an organisation, the following factors should be considered:

Data quality

Pipeline engineers must derive actionable insights from data to produce analyses and recommendations that must be accurate. Quality must deliver safe designs and operations that mitigate errors, omissions, and accidents. To achieve those aims, your engineers need to be confident in the calculations they use and the key data that drives them. Failure here can result in loss of life and property, or damage the environment and the industry’s reputation. Spreadsheets offer next to no data quality validations respective to the engineering goal at hand.

Engineering productivity
Engineers need to be efficient in transforming data through calculations and exploring real-life pipeline engineering scenarios. Unfortunately, most spreadsheets are only completely useful to its creator, who understands how the calculations are set up and where to input data...

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