In order to better implement technical safety and quality characteristics in this industry, a comprehensive automation system is needed to be applied for the integrated management of all operations in upstream industry. A comprehensive support system that is not only limited to HSEQ, but also includes other technical, operational, financial and project management sections, too.
At the present, due to lack of this automated system, there is not any databases for collecting data pertaining to the industry. Organizations record their data individually and mainly by traditional paper-pencil methods, which cannot be thoroughly analyzed by experts. In addition, many of these organizations are reluctant to disclose information on their work, HSE incidents, or events leading to poor quality of services. Consequently, these inadequate and sometimes wrong data are then provided for the client or legal centers and may be the basis for decision-makers.
On the other hand, due to using traditional paperpencil method, or separate digital recording of data by companies, data are lost in the long term and cannot be traced or retrieved.
Traditional or insular methods lead to waste of time and money and considerable increase in unnecessary bureaucracy.
These methods result in disproportionate expanding of different aspects of the organization and the organization will not be able to show necessary agility in face of changes and emergency conditions.
Moreover, each section acts insularly in these organizations; due to the weakness in long-term storage and analysis of organizational knowledge, the final outcome will not be favorable.
In these old methods, previous data cannot actually be analyzed and experiences recorded in past projects cannot be utilized optimally. The high rate of similar incidents in oil and gas upstream industry is suggestive of this fact.
As mentioned before, in a traditional disintegrated system, decision makers are not provided with necessary data for major policies; therefore, all elements of industrial management system suffer from inefficiencies.
Today, in order for an efficient and agile management of an organization, after defining the management systems in accordance with the structure of an industry or organization, modern tools for their implementation and storage are utilized. Therefore, a large number of organizations and industries seek approaches to implement automation system in order for an integrated management of all their subsidiaries.
In Iran, management is generally task-oriented due to the traditional structure of many organizations, while the world’s most successful automation systems are based on processes. Any change from task-oriented systems to process-oriented systems must be planned, executed, and guided properly so that the plan would succeed.
Creating or revising organizational structures, proper documentation of acceptance and integration patterns, as well as continuous training of senior and middle level managers and end users of these systems are the requirements of a successful plan.
It should be mentioned that the application of integrated automation systems and products of wellknown companies such as SAP, IFS, Microsoft, and Oracle has been initiated in our country. Even this procedure has made great contribution to the speed and integration of organizations such as Social Security Organization, Real Estate Registration Organization of Iran, mobile communications, police and security systems, banking, etc. In oil industry, only a handful of companies have attempted to implement automation software internally, but these efforts are not integrated in the entire industry and are not effective at the country macro level.
According to the upstream objectives to downsize governmental organizations, the implementation of automation system helps this trend, because it creates the necessary infrastructure for the subsidiaries and the contractors, increases the ability to control performance indicators, enhances the participation of contractors and operators in entering accurate information for macro level decision making, increases the reliability of data and decision making; and finally, contributes to the primary industry of the country in data management and flexibility at the time of crises.
Requirements and obligations
Requirements related to the establishment of an integrated management system should be developed in upstream operations and after creating the hardware and software infrastructure, all the subsidiaries of oil industry and even the contractors are also connected to it at the national level so that knowledge management of oil and gas is conducted in an integrated way.
The planning expert panel, including the project management experts, HSEQ, as well as technical and administrative teams has to define the project, its scope, time and personnel and financial requirements. It also has to run an integrated management system based on IOGP-OMS pattern that has a comprehensive point of view toward all the structures of upstream industry; and provide the integrated documentations related to their work, mentioned in the section “Comprehensive Integrated documentations of HSE upstream industry”. Then, they try to benchmark successful examples of automation systems and localization of their modules for their oil and gas industry with the help of expert programmers and software developers. Parallel to previous actions, educational materials and executive procedures are developed and the process training managers and employees is performed.
In the meantime, cultural and educational issues related to the panel members as well as senior and middle managers of the ministry and its subsidiary companies are of utmost importance.
The reason for this is the need to create a new culture and abandon the culture of traditional task-oriented approaches and paying attention to process-oriented approaches. On the other hand, without the practical commitment of senior management, the success of this project would be impossible.
To implement and maintain an integrated management system, special software is required. Some of these applications are available on the market, but for this industry, it might be better that the localized software is prepared by a team of programming experts with the collaboration of the mentioned panels.
On any case, following the project management standards for the design, definition of the scope, financial, technical, human, organizational risk assessment, educational programs, allocation of resources, localization, and monitoring of the project implementation are other important steps of these projects. Therefore, it should be noted that although the implementation of the automation system has very positive effects, but its success depends on overcoming some specific limitations which can bring the whole project into failure.
It should also be noted that the shift from task-oriented to process-oriented organizations may face resistance from some managers and employees. Therefore, there is an urgent need to plan for training and creating culture at work before the implementation of the project.
It is necessary to have a comprehensive approach to process all operations (including technical, financial, human resources, HSEQ, logistics, operations, and management) in order to establish interaction and relationship among them, and create common lexicon and a standard management system in accordance with the guidelines of the “integrated documents”. Many domestic companies have failed because of the rush to deploy the software without properly performing the two steps mentioned previously.
Therefore, it is primarily necessary to introduce an integrated management system like OMS. Then, it should be implemented by IOGP in industry and its documentation should be prepared and then using tools such as automation systems should be sought. Although the pre-made software has customizable modules, tailored to the industry, its structure has little flexibility to address the needs every company. Meanwhile, the companies, owning these software consider restrictions on providing accounts for users and based on the amount paid, only a few have user accounts. This is while all oil and gas personnel should be involved in these systems according to their job and status in organization and record information or make reports.
What is more important is that by buying the software a large database of all information regarding the oil and gas of the country is provided. Given that these softwares are foreign, necessary security considerations should be taken to prevent abuse of this database. Furthermore, the possibility of being cut off support and after-sales services of the software due to political reasons needs to be considered. All these issues put buying the software among high-risk decisions. Therefore, it is recommended that instead of buying the software, a permanent panel with the presence of network experts, experienced programmers, and experts from all operational and support fields be formed and the fully localized automation software is updated based on the needs of oil industry.
Mechanism for the establishment, implementation, and institutionalization
Automation projects are among the strategic plans for organizational development based on information technology, and before their implementation, necessary preparedness for their acceptance should be obtained in the organization or the industry. As explained earlier, the cultural context for the project should be created and the process-oriented structure should be defined in the oil and gas industry. This can be accomplished by the help of experienced domestic and even international consultants.
In the next step, the integrated documentation for the whole upstream oil industry operations need to be defined and used in the processes. Then, it is the time for selection of the software or programming to provide domestic software. Here, it is necessary to explain about these applications:
Organizations that wish to expand and institutionalize process-orientation, generally seek software called BPMS . This software can reduce human error in transferring information and contribute to the efficiency of working processes. In short, this software is used to enhance organizational maturity and reaching a position in which software of ERP can be established. ERP is a standard and customizable software package that aims to integrate information and manage the flow of information between all parts of the organization or industry. The financial and accounting, HR, HSEQ, engineering, support, administration and management units are all covered in an integrated way by this software. It should be noted that the ERP structure has BPMS structure inside. This is what the developed western countries as well as Persian Gulf countries and Southeast Asian countries have experienced before and have adapted their organizational structure based on the needs and their macro level strategies.
Conclusion and summary
Knowledge management is based on proper circulation of information. All sections of oil industry need to have full interaction and all their tasks including tasks related to HSEQ requirements should be clarified. The organizational structure should be in a way that a single management can be applied from the highest levels to the lowest level of contractors.
This is possible by defining an integrated management system at the macro level. The operational, support, strategic core decision making, control, engineering, and technical departments should be defined in relation to one another and create an extensive database to provide decision makers, who evaluate the industry situation, with appropriate information and help them make the best decision.
The international association of oil and gas producers (IOGP) attempted to introduce a strong model called operational management system in 2014, which is recommended for managing the whole system. In this model, sectors such as project management, HSEQ management, technical and administrative management, resource management, property and equipment, work force are all covered in a comprehensive management system called the comprehensive organizational management system. Thus, HSEQ principles are inherent in the context of managing the entire operation and will be seen more seriously in working fields.
In fact, by defining a comprehensive and integrated system, senior management does not need to apply different models of management in the organization. It obtains all necessary information from a comprehensive system and manages the whole oil industry more efficiently and effectively. This model is utilized by many multinational companies and it can be the basis for role modeling by new management of oil and gas industry in Iran. Thus, the senior does not need to apply different models of management in the organization. It obtains all necessary information from a comprehensive system and manages the whole oil industry more efficiently and effectively.
Having defined the integrated system, it is time to use of a powerful tool that can connect all parts of the system and manage the system. Today, leading countries and companies make use of automation softwares such as Enterprise Resource Planning for this purpose; a highly effective and efficient tool, using which all the elements of the management system can be well implemented and controlled.
Anyway, scientific interaction between business processes, individuals, and technology has always been associated with difficulties and risks. Automation system implementation also entails risks, which are mostly related to cultural problems, possible resistance of traditional systems to change, lack of technical knowledge and hardware infrastructure, which are all manageable with proper planning.
To reduce other technical, security, maintenance and support risks, it is advised that this automation software is localized by a panel of experts in a totally specialized way, and a permanent programming and support team is considered in the upstream for the project. In case of successful implementation of the project, some of the most important advantages of using the automation system would be:
Enhancing the transparency of requirements and responsibilities, developing the educational system and national integrated inspection system, the definition of performance indicators and more appropriate management based on performance; efficient management of contractors and suppliers, as well as the optimal use of online reporting and reporting systems and troubleshooting processes.
This will lead to institutionalization of systemic and systematic vision in the industrial specialization and management body. Creating an extensive database of all the sections will result in efficient knowledge management, allocation of resources based on true needs, development of work force of oil industry, better training, more specialized affairs, effective crisis management programs and macro level policies with high efficiency. Therefore, we will witness a more appropriate level of implementation of up-todate standards in Iran, which will certainly lead to an increase in the comprehensive quality in all sections and enhancement of HSE level in this industry.
Author: Mehdi Babaie Rostami