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Report on the HSE effects of digitalisation

The petroleum industry is becoming increasingly dependent on digital systems, and the companies have ambitious plans for increased use of digital technology – along the entire value chain. A new report shows how digitalisation affects health, safety and the environment.

Digitalisation involves the introduction of digital technology, such as computer engineering methods and tools, to replace, streamline or automate manual and physical tasks. In the petroleum industry, this involves the increased use of integrated operations, remote operations, automatization, robot technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and access to computer resources in order to analyse large volumes of data.

Effects of digitalisation
This development is capable of producing more efficient work processes, replacing manual labour, yielding better analyses and improved decision-making. This may have clear benefits for health, safety and the environment (HSE) and increased efficiency.

The development may also bring challenges, notably concerning situational awareness, information security, human error and sabotage. The industry must therefore actively monitor changes related to risk resulting from digitalisation.

Consolidates knowledge
The PSA is now publishing a report that consolidates and analyses knowledge of the impacts of digitalisation on HSE in the petroleum industry.

This report is part of the PSAs ongoing effort to increase knowledge and understanding on digitalization and ITC security.

"The report has been prepared by IRIS Research Institute as part of the PSA project on digitalisation in the petroleum industry. A primary aim of this project is to provide better understanding of development trends in digitalisation, the consequences of digitalisation for people, technology and organisation, and to make recommendations for strategies and tactics for following this up", says project manager Linn Iren Vestly Bergh.

The report is based on a review of relevant literature and documents, workshops and interviews with domain experts, informants from a variety of petroleum industry companies and organisations.

The study shows that the present focus is primarily on the development and use of tools and process to improve decision-making, collaboration and automatization. The period in which the industry finds itself, with mature technology and high pressure on efficiency and costs, is described as a period, with increased focus on the development and use of new technology while at the same time operating in traditional systems and work processes.

According to the report, the digitalisation initiatives in the industry will bring about a radical change in the way the companies work, and it is emphasised that digitalisation does not only involve changes in work processes in the individual companies' own operations and organisation, but also the implementation of new forms of collaboration and business models. The report also raises questions about whether the employees are sufficiently involved in the digitalisation processes.

Focus areas in the PSA
Progress is rapid, and, as a supervisory authority, the PSA needs a good overview of both digitalisation and ICT security. As part of this progress, going ahead PSA will focus specifically on digital technology and ICT security in the petroleum industry. This will include further developing and collecting in-depth knowledge about specific topics related to HSE risk. 

"During 2018, the PSA will be implementing several projects in the field of ICT security. These are aimed at operational technology, were we will be looking at areas such as infrastructure and segregation and the HSE consequences of remote operations. We will also be examining how the companies are using training and practical exercises related to ICT security", says Espen Seljemo, who heads up several of the PSA's projects in this area.

PSA will also include audits in which we obtain information about the companies own follow-up of the development and implementation of digital solutions and ICT security. It will also be important to obtain an information and knowledge on whether these trends will affect the regulations and the PSA's follow-up of participants.  

Øyvind Midttun, press contact
Email: oyvind.midttun@ptil.no | +47 51 87 34 77