• Digital Spotlight – Industry Challenges and Opportunities


    CRIN and PTAC are collaborating on a series of DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT events to highlight industry business challenges and promising solutions from digital technologies. The recent October 29 event featured four new and growing digital Centres of Excellence directly involved in accelerating digital technologies in Canada’s energy sector.



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    This December 1 DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT will seek to focus the conversation on some of the most important challenges facing industry, remove barriers and identify opportunities that lead to the adoption of actionable, winning, and proven digital solutions. CRIN anticipates the launch of a $5 million competition in the next few months for digital innovation projects to meet those challenges.

    Digital is core to the future of the oil and gas industry and the energy industry more broadly. Canada has a strong ecosystem of innovators that have new technologies such as sensors, ubiquitous connectivity, drones, autonomous vehicles, analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality.

    The December 1 DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT will cover the following key industry challenges that could be solved with digital solutions:

    • Environmental Monitoring: such as for water, land, ecosystem, vegetation, and greenhouse gases, with sensors and drones, for faster detection and more cost effective mitigation
    • Health and Safety: including measures to deal with the pandemic, as many companies and organizations have pivoted to working from home, presenting information technology challenges and opportunities
    • Project Execution: generally for large construction projects and turnarounds, which can be optimized with digital technologies like digital twins, augmented and virtual reality, to give companies the ability to view projects in three dimensions and create computer models that can be used to better plan and execute large projects and reduce associated capital costs.
    • Production and Operations Excellence: such as performing remote operations more autonomously, reducing the need for operators to be on site, creating faster response times, optimizing equipment and facility operations, performing predictive maintenance. Promising solutions include machine learning to identify patterns and spot anomalies, drones and robots to perform high-risk inspections, as well as digital assistants and connected worker technologies such as augmented and virtual reality.

    CRIN aims to create connections and collisions between the many nodes across the innovation ecosystem regionally, nationally and internationally.  Solutions to today’s energy challenges require an understanding of the entire innovation system and how pieces fit together. CRIN and the work of its various theme groups have already begun identifying the challenges, have a mandate to stay on top of the shifts in priority and make use of the network effect to accelerate the purposeful connections and net returns across these necessary innovation nodes.

    PTAC is a Canadian hydrocarbon industry association that serves as a neutral non-profit facilitator of collaborative R&D and technology development, and operates in partnership with all industry stakeholders to transform challenges into opportunities. PTAC has been able to support collaborative networks which advance innovative R&D and technology development projects, that address pertinent industry challenges through activities which reduce costs, improve operational efficiencies, enhance environmental stewardship, advance regulatory development, and provide our industry with the social license to operate.

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  • Agenda
    Welcome and context setting
    Opening remarks

    Bryan Helfenabaum, Alberta Innovates
    CRIN Linkages between Digital and Other Themes

    James Dunn, CRIN
    Environmental Monitoring (Water, land, ecosystem, vegetation, and GHG’s)
    a) Methane Forum shared learnings - Marc Godin, PTAC
    b) Industry challenges and opportunities - Simone Levy, InnoTech Alberta
    c) GIS enabled environmental project management, Vincent Lam and Sean Huang, Matidor
    d) Environmental data analytics, Greg Henderson and Jason Suwala, Hatfield
    e) Q&A
    Health and Safety
    a) Industry challenges and opportunities - Mark Sombach, Syncrude
    b) COVID related digitization - Amit Bhargava, EnviroApps
    c) COVID mitigation measures - Ian Buchanan, Scott Hunter, Billy Rideout, Exergy
    d) Q&A
    Capital Project Execution
    a) Industry challenges and opportunities - Len Grzyb, Worley
    b) AR/VR project management - EnsureworX, Jeff LaFrenz
    c) Scott Mussbacher, Vista Projects
    d) Q&A
    Production and Operations Excellence
    a) Industry challenges and opportunities (1) - Christina Ellerbeck, Suncor
    b) Industry challenges and opportunities (2) - Mark Derry, Husky
    c) Field automation - Dane Etwaroo, Spartan Controls
    d) Edge computing - Mark Scantlebury, Extreme Telematics
    e) Drone image recognition - Lindsay Mohr & Mark Dubrule, AirMarket
    f) Cloud computing - David MacKay, Rackspace
    g) Q&A
    Closing remarks

    Mike Crabtree, SRC