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NEWS & INSIGHTS | Opinion

Unlocking value from data digitally

18 July 2022
Written by Steve Roberts

With a UK target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, there are significant obligations on the offshore energy sector to accelerate the deployment of and transition to clean energy sources, such as hydrogen and offshore wind, as well as carbon capture and storage technologies.

As we seek to create value from these new sources and technologies, we need better cohesive access to data and digital solutions. Spatial planning to identify the best places for co-location of these energy assets needs data. We therefore must work together to unlock value from data digitally by sharing as openly as possible to enable the best analysis, benchmarking and monitoring for the offshore energy industry. The key to this is the adoption of a whole system approach which will enable a modern, digitalised and integrated offshore energy sector for a sustainable future.

But how do we get there?

I am delighted that the OEDS report has identified and set out clear strategic and workstream recommendations that will enable the alignment of data and digital strategies across the sector. 

Creating a collaborative and interconnected digital ecosystem within the energy sector will help to modernise oil and gas production techniques, accelerate growth in offshore wind and in new industries such as CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage), hydrogen, and wave and tidal generation.

The Net Zero Technology Centre has supported the offshore energy data strategy (OEDS) taskforce as we believe that without this coordination and common approach the adoption of digital solutions to enhance operating efficiency and reduce emission will be much slower and a lack of standards will inhibit progress and the full realisation of benefits. When you look at other industries that are fully realising the significant benefits of digital solutions, whether it be finance, retail, aviation, logistics or manufacturing, standards, data catalogues and common approaches have been instrumental. 

It is refreshing to read a report that not only makes strategic recommendations but also recommends and provides guidelines on how to implement them. The recommended work streams are very relevant to the future of the energy industry.

The NZTC fully supports the recommendations, and we are working hard to play our part in making them a reality.  We are currently investing in a number of projects that will make significant contributions towards the goals outlined in the report.  Our Data Trust project will establish technology and the legal framework for sharing data reliably and securely across industry and the Offshore Energy Data Architecture (OEDA) project, funded through the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Fund, will set the standards to enable data catalogues to be more easily established and shared across industry.  I believe these two projects will be the cornerstone with which we can build a digitised and integrated offshore energy sector.  Providing a reliable and trusted place for data will encourage industry to share their valuable data which is pivotal to the success of projects such as Data for Net Zero (D4NZ) and Offshore Low Touch Energy Robotics (OLTER), again both funded through the Energy Transition Fund. The D4NZ project will contribute significantly to establishing basin-wide digital linkages between energy assets and services. This will enable simulation to assess interdependencies for planning a better whole energy system. The OLTER project will establish a data hub and associated data catalogues to enable to development and expansion of the use of robotics and autonomous systems in the offshore environment.

I am also pleased to share that the NZTC will be part of the Digital Strategy Group, another recommendation in the report, that will advocate for cross-sectoral coordination, building on the existing work and drive for adoption of better data sharing practice across multiple industries.

We aren’t just talking, we are already actively involved in delivering the recommendations set out in the OEDS report, these ground-breaking projects and initiatives will make a fundamental difference to the data and digital space within the energy industry and beyond.

Watch this space!

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