Asset integrity and asset integrity management systems (AIMS) are critical to the safe and smooth operations of oil and gas facilities and installations, from oil fields and offshore platforms to pipelines and refineries.
Maintaining asset integrity is a core business of all oil and gas companies and those in the support supply chain. Although asset integrity rarely makes headlines, except in cases of catastrophic failures, this is an integral part of all operations of the energy industry and no operation can run smoothly without ensuring the health and safety of the people and the reliability and safety of the energy supply.
Asset integrity management ensures reliability and safety, reduces potential risks, optimises productivity, production, and downtime, and meets the relevant safety and operational requirements.
The asset integrity market in the energy industry is set to grow in the coming years and decades as operational oil and gas upstream, midstream, and downstream assets will continue to need efficient and cost-effective asset integrity management. In addition, the expected exponential rise of renewable energy sources and wind and solar installations will also drive the asset management market in the energy sector.
The size of the global asset integrity management services market, including risk-based inspection, corrosion management, pipeline integrity management, Hazard Identification Studies (HAZID), and structural integrity management, is estimated to be worth US$19.4 billion in 2020, ResearchAndMarkets said in a report in November. The size of that market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5% through 2025, reaching US$24.2 billion by that year. The key drivers will be growing demand for asset integrity management in new deepwater offshore fields and declining efficiencies of ageing assets, according to ResearchAndMarkets.
Market research firm ReportLinker said in an April 2021 report that it expected the asset integrity management services market in oil and gas alone to register a CAGR of about 8.67% through 2025, due to rising demand for oil in coming years and the use of assets such as offshore platforms, rigs, and pipelines beyond their design life.
“With the ageing infrastructure, the demand for asset integrity management services in the oil and gas sector is expected to increase, in order to prolong the life of these assets,” ReportLinker said.
North America, which has one of the oldest midstream infrastructures, with many oil and gas pipelines older than 40 years, is set to dominate the asset integrity management services market through 2025. In addition, most of the active platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are older than 25 years, ReportLinker noted.
Specifically for oil fields, the size of the asset integrity management market is expected to rise at a CAGR of 7.8% between 2020 and 2027, to reach US$22.87 billion by 2027, Fortune Business Insights said in a report in early 2021.
The growth will be driven by increased oil and gas exploration activities and the growing adoption of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) that is likely to propel the demand for advanced oilfield integrity management solutions globally, according to Fortune Business Insights.
The increased adoption of digital services in asset management and maintenance and the rise of AI in planning and predictive analytics could help the energy industry streamline operations and monitor the performance of plants and facilities easier, analysts in the industry say.
Carrying out remote video or augmented reality-assisted inspections in harsh environments, predicting maintenance plans and downtimes, streamlining work processes, and optimising asset performance via smart devices are some of the applications of advanced technologies in the energy sector.
According to DNV, an independent expert in assurance and risk management, Internet of Things equipment such as sensors and Big Data advanced analytics could give a better overview of operations and more control and independence for managing assets.
Digitalisation can bring benefits to day-to-day operations and cost reduction as historical and real-time data help operators improve maintenance and inspection regimes for condition monitoring, according to interviews DNV has carried out with 25 key stakeholders, including operators, rig owners, IT suppliers, and consultants.
DNV also published a report on the solar industry in April 2021, saying that the digitalisation of solar power generation assets could lower costs and increase the value of solar generation in the market.
Increased use of advanced analytics and machine learning could lower construction, development, and asset deployment costs. In terms of operations, digital tools will streamline and continuously improve how solar power is generated and delivered, according to the report.
Digitalisation “will provide the necessary insights and integration that solar projects will need to operate lucratively in an increasingly competitive environment,” says report author Dana Olson, DNV’s Global Solar Segment Leader.
Digitalisation has the potential to streamline oil and gas operations and help the industry rise to the challenge of the new reality of the sector, EY said in January 2021.
“Advances in digital technologies have the potential to allow the industry to respond effectively to changes in the market,” EY reckons.
The consultant has identified some of the areas with the greatest potential for impact across the oil and gas value chain. These include intelligent automation, data-driven decisions supported by AI, the Industrial Internet of Things, and blockchain.
Yet, digitalisation poses two key challenges to the energy sector—potentially increased susceptibility to cyber-attacks, and the need to reskill employees or attract digital-savvy young talent to the oil and gas industry.
The higher the use of digital tools, the higher the risks of malicious computer attacks become, so companies must also invest in cybersecurity to protect their digitalised assets.
Industry executives have come to realise that digitalisation would be crucial in the future energy systems, but a gap could emerge in the workforce if employees are not reskilled or young talent attracted soon.
“Energy’s struggle to attract millennial and Generation Z is well-documented as younger employees prioritise job growth, an environmental focus, and other factors which they believe (correctly or not) to be at odds with the oil and gas sector,” KPMG said in a recent report.
EY’s Oil and Gas Digital Transformation and the Workforce Survey 2020 found that there was “significant skill gaps even among current users of digital technologies.”
“Workforce composition and training are widely acknowledged barriers to technology adoption, and the skillsets needed to onboard and extract value from digital technologies — data analytics, cybersecurity, data science, design thinking, artificial intelligence and others — far outpace the current level of maturity across the industry.”
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