You deserve better: the future of Hydrocarbon Accounting

Just like every other part of your business, Hydrocarbon Accounting (HCA) is more efficient and produces better results when it is tailored to your requirements. However, with traditional systems like Energy Components these customisations present users with problems right from the start. Implementation requires a team of developers and technology experts, and these same highly skilled individuals are required every time a change is needed, or the software requires an upgrade. When you have to ask Accenture to do the upgrade for you then you know you’re in trouble! This type of customisation means that you have lost the benefits of a product: there’s no clear separation between the core software and your solution.

This is not simply a problem with production reporting and hydrocarbon accounting. It is a pattern repeated across the oil and gas sector. Continue reading “You deserve better: the future of Hydrocarbon Accounting”

Digital Transformation in Hydrocarbon Accounting

Efficiency is vital in the oil and gas industry, and operators are constantly on the hunt for a competitive edge as they seek to produce hydrocarbons as cost-effectively as possible. This drive for efficiency has seen the industry shift towards automation that reduces human error and cuts costs. This change is particularly evident in mature plays such as the North Sea and the US onshore, where cost constraints are such that more and more must be done with fewer and fewer staff. Continue reading “Digital Transformation in Hydrocarbon Accounting”

Incremental Improvement

I recently attended an Oil & Gas UK Business Outlook Breakfast Briefing, where the phrase of the day was ‘cautiously optimistic’.

We’ve seen in the news that North Sea operators are reviving, the biggest story being the recent Hurricane Energy discovery near Shetland. The briefing figures showed that unit costs are down and profits/projects are on the rise. People seem to be getting better at doing more with less. Continue reading “Incremental Improvement”

A Different Way

We run a cloud service for oil and gas. Our goal is to grow organically, and to grow profitability not staff numbers. We value a high degree of autonomy, and we operate entirely virtually. We’ve been extensively using cloud services to run our business for over ten years, and now virtually everything we do, from mail and calendar to accounting and document management, is done in the cloud.

However, we didn’t start out that way. Continue reading “A Different Way”

Demonstrating Simplicity

Automation is a tricky topic to cover. While we can provide evidence of the benefits, like the fact that our system allowed one of our clients to reduce a week’s work to two hours, there isn’t really an easy way to demonstrate how it works. Since our automation process is designed to make dramatic reductions in the time spent to carry out tasks, and reduce manual intervention, a demo might consist of nothing more than an email in an inbox notifying the user that the day’s processes had successfully completed. Not a great demo, but the goal of automation is to make everything simpler and more reliable. And the freedom that automation delivers can directly benefit your productivity.

Continue reading “Demonstrating Simplicity”

Can Saving Costs Cost You?

In my last blog post I mentioned performance improvement. It’s a buzzword that frequently appears when researching software systems for the oil and gas industry, but what exactly does it mean?

To me, Performance Improvement is a blanket term for a range of important issues, ranging from operational efficiency, to automation, and data integration.

However, the vast majority of software companies seem to equate performance improvement with “cost savings”, and define this as the primary benefit. Given the current climate, this is undoubtedly important, but is this the only thing we should be focussing on, and where do the other elements of Performance Improvement come into this?

What happens if a company focuses solely on cutting costs? Having had experience within the food industry, I have often seen companies focus heavily on cost savings, particularly when supermarkets continuously push suppliers for reductions. I have witnessed companies reduce their overheads by up to 20%, but still fail. Why is this?

Think back to the controversy in 2010, when Kraft took over Cadbury. Despite promises to the contrary, within weeks Kraft had closed a factory to save money. And it didn’t stop with factories. The US owner, now called Mondelez, tinkered with recipes, packaging and traditions, again in an apparent effort to reduce costs.

Following the important Easter period, it has now been reported that Cadbury lost more than £6m in Creme Egg sales after changing the recipe to include cheaper ingredients. Ultimately, all of the cost-savings have actually lead to cost-failings, by breaking the trust of customers and potentially ensuring that they never return.

If the entire focus of performance improvement is on saving money, a much bigger opportunity is missed. Clearly, the low oil price and volatility of the oil and gas market at the moment makes it inevitable that people are looking to cut costs. But instead of only looking at what they can take away, it’s probably time to look at ways to add value.