Three years ago, NODE’s application for Global Center of Expertise – the highest level in the Norwegian cluster program – was based on what has become industry buzzwords: Digitalization and access to real-time data.

By Anne-Grete Ellingsen, CEO of GCE NODE

The foresight of NODE’s board at that time has served us well. Today, in the midst of a profound digital transformation, the cluster is already heavily involved in projects and processes that will increase the industry’s performance, efficiency and competitiveness.

This is a huge advantage compared to those who have not yet fully embraced the challenges and opportunities provided by new technologies and their applications.

Industrial digitalization is the most important ongoing project in our industry. It will allow us to extract oil and gas in an efficient, safe and more sustainable manner at lower cost. Digitalization requires a change of culture and mindset. It enables a closer co-operation in the value chain from small suppliers to end costumers. We will see new business models emerge and new players entering the industry.

This transformation represents lots of opportunities to get lost. Finding the right path requires insight and knowledge that is not readily available. Thus, GCE NODE is involved in several research, development and innovation projects to understand the effects of digitalization and how to strengthen our competitive power in a digital era.

GCE NODE has initiated a pilot program called Data Highway, focusing on drilling operations offshore. The target is to establish a common information architecture for access and sharing of real-time data. The project will improve operational effectiveness and increase flexibility, resulting in less downtime, reduced cost and safer operations.

Access to real-time data will enable remote operations and services that can contribute to more cost-effective operations, in addition to lower carbon footprint. All major service and equipment suppliers participate in the pilot and a field test is planned this fall at the IRIS virtual rig in Stavanger. The project is well anchored in the operating committees of The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association.

Data Highway is well aligned with the industrial logic principles of Norwegian telecom and banking. By co-operating on the basic infrastructure, the cost base for doing business is significantly reduced. As a result, Norwegian banks have become more competitive than in other countries.

We believe the digital shift could provide the same results in other industries. We also believe that the basic technology required for the digital shift is both scalable and applicable for other industries. It is important to approach these opportunities both top-down and bottom-up. This is a central part of GCE NODE’s strategy and current projects targeting SMEs.

Together, we are making sense and business opportunities out of buzzwords.