A Culture of Technology

  • Thought Leadership

Article in full from Energy Voice, The Press & Journal, May 2019

By John Cameron, FWB Park Brown

It is a widely held view that the implementation of innovative new technologies will be critical to the future sustainability of mature offshore basins such as the North Sea and the US Gulf of Mexico as they compete for investment alongside other more cost competitive regions and energy sources.

The challenge faced by leaders within the industry is how do they ensure their organisations can respond to the need to relentlessly find new ways of delivering value in increasingly cost competitive markets via innovation.

At our annual OTC Leadership dinner, scheduled for 6th May in Houston, our keynote speakers from Nabors Drilling will discuss how they as leaders recognise the need to change and develop a culture that embraces innovation.

Despite drilling in depths and at speeds unimaginable 20 years ago, an important observation made by Nabors is that successful infiltration of technology requires a culture of technology, a subject that they will expand upon during the evening.

In many companies the acceptance of new technology is often top driven with the assumption its benefits are crystal clear. Companies work diligently to obtain and implement the latest technology solutions, seeking to gain an advantage in the marketplace. However, this advantage is often only on a short-term basis and they fail to see lasting success.

A more sustainable solution is one where it is incumbent on the leaders within the organisation to actively focus on forming the corporate culture in the way it believes it needs to be so that they can cost-effectively meet the business challenges of today and tomorrow by the successful implementation of innovative technologies.

Enlightened leaders recognise that a key learning is that innovation is only one step towards change; a company can have the greatest technology in the world but it’s only great if it’s implemented as intended and “culture” is what dictates this.

In an initiative that will aid better understanding of some of the elements of a company culture with regard to innovation, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre together with Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University have launched a new research programme to identify the behavioural barriers to successful technology adoption and deployment on the UK Continental Shelf, creating a toolkit to support both developers and operating companies.

Their belief is that whilst market and organisational factors can impact on adoption, it is the psychological barriers that are the strongest and least understood. Individuals, whether workers, managers, investors or regulators, can have a very powerful influence on an organisation’s receptivity to new technology and the objective is to understand how these psychological factors interact with the unique attributes of the oil and gas industry.

The oil & gas industry has an inherent determination to overcome obstacles and excel which has seen many incredible accomplishments over that last few decades. In order to continue to succeed the challenge is to deliver energy at cost competitive prices, a challenge that requires us to run our businesses differently by actively driving the right behaviours that create buy-in and active engagement in ensuring the successful implementation of innovative technologies.

John Cameron is a Director at FWB Park Brown

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