CERAWeek: Improving communication

One theme at CERAWeek is the industry’s need for greater communication and collaboration, both within far-flung global companies and with other firms and nations, as the industry tries to feed the world’s rising energy needs in coming years.
A key part of that effort includes better integration of technology that connects employees across different cultures, regions and companies and can accelerate and expand access to data, saving time and reducing costs.
At a panel Tuesday, David Latin, vice president of technology at European oil giant BP, used one example from the company’s “Field of the Future” initiative.
In the Gulf of Mexico, the company spent $100 million to lay 1,300 kilometers of fiber optic cable on the sea floor to connect its production platforms. The cable allows quicker communication between the platforms and to company operations on land, he said. After Hurricane Ike in September, the system enabled the company to restart production significantly faster than in the past because it had better data to evaluate, he said.
Stein Wolden, operations excellence specialist at Houston-based ConocoPhillips, said recent investment in better communication technology has turned out to be especially useful amid a declining economic environment.
Employees have boosted use of video-conferencing by 30 percent in recent months after the company placed restrictions on travel, he said.
–Brett Clanton