Smart use of data and experience

“Effective Knowledge management requires combining smart technology, processes, various disciplines and people within projects and organizations”, says Rob van der Spek of DNV GL. “Bringing together these elements in a focused way should enable companies to reduce the so-called costs of ignorance”

“There are several themes within knowledge management for the oil and gas industry”, continues Van der Spek. “First of all, companies want to know how they can collect and share their (project) experiences. How can they retain the lessons learned during an operation, how can they collectively share these experiences, and, most important, use them again during future operations and projects? This should contribute to creating a safer, more effective and cost-efficient industry, on the CAPEX as well as the OPEX side as well as geographically. Regulators increasingly pressure companies to demonstrate that they have mature systems and processes for systematic learning from experiences, especially after the Macondo incident. This is especially important when assets are being transferred between owners and the new owners should demonstrate that they have the required competencies for a license to operate..”

Focus on critical knowledge

Another important theme is that due to the downturn, much experience will leave the industry. Van der Spek says: “Yes, the many cut-backs are causing a vast knowledge exodus in the sector. Next to that is the issue that the average age within the industry is relatively high, resulting in even more knowledge loss. How can the employees who remain within the company still build on that experience? The realistic answer is that it is impossible to retain all knowledge and experience. A company must decide what critical knowledge is and which knowledge is less critical, or which knowledge is readily available on the market when needed. This critical knowledge must be managed properly within the company and retained for future operations. Companies are well aware of the so-called learning curve but what about the impact of the forgetting curve?” Van der Spek explains that there are many examples of structurally mapping and documenting experiences and using this information in new and similar projects. He sees a trend in pensioners returning to the industry as a facilitators of lessons learned processes.

Knowledge-based assessment of standards

Moving on to another theme, Van der Spek continues “Knowledge about standards within the industry is also part of the equation. Each company builds on International standards but in addition companies have developed their own specific standards. The question is, which standards are absolutely necessary to guarantee safety and quality and which extra standards cost time and money without adding value? Specific standards might have been developed for good reasons in the past but companies now need to find opportunities to cut costs. A Risk-based assessment of standards brings together knowledge of International standards as well as company-specific standards and enables companies to weed out any added overzealous standards without compromising on safety and quality Regulatory Intelligence is an important enabler for lean operations.”

Big data combined with experience

“Big data is a hot topic in the business world and the oil and gas sector is no exception. I strongly believe that most added value will emerge when we combine operational data, i.e from sensors but also information hidden in (daily) reports and log files with knowledge from skilled employees deeply rooted in the operations. we should use the power of our skilled staff and combine it with the power of computers and algorithms.”, says Van der Spek. During the Technical Session on knowledge management, Van der Spek will elaborate on how important knowledge management is within the current market, which is very much under pressure especially on the exploration side. Van der Spek concludes: “I think it is common sense that learning from experiences is crucial for companies. However the main question is how to organize knowledge management in the most optimal way given the pressure on costs.”

Experience as the source of innovation

“We at DNV GL have around 300 offices in 100 different countries and as such our clients may assume that we are consistent and efficient in the way we do business worldwide. As a global player, knowledge management is an important enabler to achieve this . At the same time, we use what we have learned in our global delivery as a source of innovation. Global networks on services and segments bring together skilled staff that identify, share and disseminate good practices at global scale. We are committed to reusing these practices for the benefit of our clients. How can you provide knowledge management services, if you do not practice it adequately yourself?”, concludes Van der Spek

OEEC Technical Session: Knowledge management

Rob van der Spek, Global Lead Knowledge Management & Road Mapping Competence Centre at DNV GL offers clients advisory services to, among others, improve the quality of their knowledge management initiatives. Next to that he is also program manager of DNV GL’s internal knowledge management program.

During the Offshore Energy Exhibition and Conference to be held on 25 and 26 October 2016, the Knowledge Management session will address the importance of knowledge within the oil and gas industry and will be moderated by Michael Nord, Principal Consultant at Fifth Business. Other speakers include: Enda Logan (CEO at Fifth Business), Saskia Rijtema (VP Technology at Heerema Marine Contractors) and Chris Fyfe (Knowledge Management Specialist at FMC Technologies). For more information head to the website

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