Your data offers countless opportunities - 3 ways to increase data utilisation in the energy industry

2 Oct 2020| Antti Lehikoinen
real-time data reporting predictive maintenance

Data is everywhere – with more being continually created, and new ways of utilising it constantly being invented. As we’ve said before in our blog, having ownership of your data is crucial if an energy company wants to benefit from it. My colleagues have comprehensively addressed the ways in which data and the real-time snapshots created using data can improve production efficiency and emission efficiency. From the point of view of a company’s corporate social responsibility, these are high priority areas for development. 

However, this same production data, which can improve production and emissions efficiency, can also be utilised in many other ways. In this blog, I highlight alternative methods to leverage data that may not be the first in mind, but that can equally enhance the efficiency of an energy company. 

Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it intended as such. Rather, the intention is to expand on all the activities of an energy company in which data could be beneficial.

 

1. Unexpected events and cause-and-effect relationships are easier to resolve

Unexpected events inevitably occur in the production process, some of which can have unfortunate consequences. Detecting such situations can be challenging in itself, but the real difficulty often lies in resolving them.  

With the help of data, it is much easier to determine the cause-and-effect relationships that lead to such events. In fact, this is not only limited to unexpected events – data can be used to determine causal relationships from any issue in the production process.  

Traceability also implies verifiability. In other words, the effects of any measures taken can be demonstrated in the data. Thus, data analysis is an effective tool for improving operational reliability.  

 

2. Communication with the media, customers, and stakeholders is facilitated

Once the data is in your company’s possession, you are free to use it as you desire, including presenting the data wherever and however you like. Of course, presenting raw data, or sometimes even aggregated data may not be useful (nor sensible). Instead, being able to visualise the processed data in a format that is easy to understand can certainly help in many situations – for example, while presenting data to the media. 

You can present successes in reducing emissions to the media and to consumers in your preferred manner. For instance, a near real-time visualisation of production efficiency could be presented on your energy company’s website. 

Furthermore, it is easy for other stakeholders, or for example, the Board of Directors, to report production efficiency when visualisations are accessible even via mobile phone. Be it for internal or external reporting, by taking advantage of data, communication can be just as comprehensive and transparent as desired. 

 

3. Proactive measures can be taken to reduce and shorten maintenance outages

The better potential interruptions or slowdowns in production can be anticipated, the more secure and efficient production will be. Traditionally, maintenance outages were planned in advance for a time when the need for production is minimal. Often, as many consumable parts as possible would be changed at once, whether or not there was a need to change them.  

However, unplanned maintenance, not related to the normal wear and tear of parts, also requires downtime. Unfortunately, these maintenances often come as a surprise, and damage production the most.  

Nonetheless, even these problems usually do not occur without some prior warning signs, and analysis of production data can help to detect these signs. When advance warnings of potential production problems are detected in the data, measures can be taken immediately to resolve the situation and reduce downtime. 

 

Data can be utilised in countless ways if it is available

In this blog, I aimed to reveal how versatile the uses of data can be. These three applications that I have listed are currently possible to implement, and in the future, more and more surprising applications will certainly arise. Clearly, data can be used to improve the operations of an energy company and to make people’s lives easier in many different ways. 

When an energy company has their production data in their own hands, there are no limits to its use other than your imagination. 


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