Real-time collaboration: from desktop to worksite

The oil and gas industry is changing and there are new realities to embrace. Wood Group is leading the change by leveraging our innovative spirit to help our customers reduce capital spend and operating costs, whilst providing exceptional technical services.

Looking to expand our horizons, we are reaching out to other industries, vendors and   research institutions to see how they innovate and what we can adopt, adapt or be inspired by.

As a result, we have developed our eWorking programme which connects people to decision-making insights, knowledge and expertise - when and where they need it most.

Philip Oliver, Wood Group’s innovation manager explains: “Accessing remote sites or hazardous areas presents a significant logistical challenge in our industry. This issue is compounded when the facility is offshore and you have to deal with restricted bed space and changing planning schedules.

“Communicating effectively between the office and the work site is a crucial part of any job and access to the site is often necessary for experts to identify issues, diagnose problems and develop solutions. Many jobs require several different experts, teams of specialists and decision makers to reach a conclusion together. Getting these experts to the site can involve special permits, training, inductions, extended travel, accommodation, scheduling and in many cases visas or work permits.

“Our eWorking programme is an integrated eco-system of technological solutions that helps operational teams make faster, better quality decisions and perform tasks more efficiently. We’re developing new ways of working safely and efficiently, revolutionizing how our services are delivered.”

A cornerstone of the eWorking programme is eXpert, which tackles these challenges by connecting the work site to the office in real-time. The solution uses a unique combination of specialist, intrinsically safe hardware and software for audio, video and data streaming. Depending on what is available or most cost-effective, eXpert can connect reliably using a range of communications options including wifi, mobile (4G) and satellite, optimised for the available bandwidth.

All of this has been brought about by a convergence of the latest hardware (smartphones and tablets) and an advanced software platform, enabled by fit-for-purpose commercial models, allowing Wood Group to offer an affordable, packaged solution to our clients across the globe.

Phil continues: “Experts and decision makers don’t need to gather in the same room to collaborate; eXpert can connect a dispersed team using a combination of mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and meeting facility to interface with the work site. Decisions get made quickly and with considerably less cost, and the benefit goes beyond saving on travel and downtime. By opening up the collaborative possibilities we are able to connect more experts to the problem, giving our customers direct access to a much larger pool of our global expertise – that’s very exciting.

“We’ve seen eXpert reduce mobilisation costs, inspection and execution times while speeding up issue resolution by up to 70% compared to traditional problem solving methods.

“We put our people at the heart of eWorking. Their knowledge and expertise is enhanced by innovations like eXpert which make it simpler, more efficient and safer for them to do their work. Supported by enabling innovation, they can make enhanced decisions and work more collaboratively whilst lowering operating costs, which is especially important in mature basins such as the North Sea.”

Wood Group has successfully trialled and deployed eXpert for major operators in the UK, US, Canada and Middle East with further international projects in the pipeline. In one such deployment, after using the technology for four weeks, surveys were delivered five weeks ahead of schedule, the mobilisation of three engineers offshore was avoided and surveys were executed 80% faster.

The solution can also be used for live reporting of business, technical and HSE incidents as well as carrying out competency assessments, inspections and visual surveys.

By driving efficiency and lowering operating costs, our eWorking programme can play a part in delivering sustainable low cost operations to support the future of the North Sea. Beyond the UKCS, this solution is a game-changer for the energy sector as a whole.

Philip concludes: “The applications for eXpert are vast with multiple uses on one site. In the future, we are looking to develop a broader range of solutions as part of our eWorking vision. We are currently rolling out digital workpacks and remote bio-monitoring services; and in 2018 we will introduce a wearable camera that connects wirelessly over Bluetooth to the eXpert handset to stream from the worksite, hands free.”

Click here for more on our eWorking technology.