Nibras, a digital transformation platform designed to help oil and gas companies manage their assets optimally, is all set to go global.
Designed to optimise operations and maintenance of oil and gas assets, Nibras was developed in-house by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and until now, was only used by Oman’s major oil and gas operator.
Built with an open architecture to connect with corporate databases and real-time data, the system employs exception-based surveillance (EBS) to automatically detect deviations in asset performance from optimal conditions, and flag them to the right users, at the right time, and in the right way.
Innovation Technical Solutions LLC (iNNOVATEQ), an Omani technology company, was established in 2017 to commercialise the Nibras platform with the backing of Oman National Investments Development Company (TANMIA) and Innovation Development Oman Holdings (IDO Investments).
Nibras will now be offered to international Oli & Gas Companies with the first contract outside PDO expected to be signed this month (June).
“Nibras is built with an open architecture to connect to corporate databases,” Dr Riyadh Moosa, CEO of iNNOVATEQ, told Observer in an interview.
According to him, this digital platform allows its customers easy monitoring of the status and performance of wells, reservoirs and surface facilities; presenting its findings through intuitive dashboards and automated workflows.
Explaining about the total coverage of Nibras in PDO, Dr Riyadh said that Nibras is used to manage 98 per cent of the wells (around 8,000) together with about 75 per cent of the water-flooded reservoirs, and 25 per cent of the surface equipment. He sees these numbers as “growing continuously.”
One of the key growth areas for Nibras’s digital transformation technology is in Industrial Mobility. A mobile version of Nibras has been launched to help field staff execute their work as well as manage and maintain equipment and assets much more efficiently. Dr Riyadh explained that “The technology and the methodology are very flexible and universal in application. We see the possibility of it expanding in other upstream Oil & Gas domains such as exploration, engineering and even finance; but also in other industries.” He shared that there is already interest from downstream Oil & Gas companies; and that iNNOVATEQ is hoping to shortly announce an MOU on collaboration on Digitalization with an Omani downstream company.
“With this in mind, iNNOVATEQ is offering the Nibras platform and methodology to the world; talking to oil and gas companies in the Sultanate and also with major operators within the region and globally. This includes both national and international oil companies; in the region and across the world,” he reveals.
“Through iNNOVATEQ, we can now help other companies learn from our long experience to fast-track their own digital transformation, and avoid the pitfalls we went through in our journey” Dr Riyadh.
According to him, the Nibras project is a ‘labour of passion’. “Its origins go back to the 2007. Almost 12 years ago I was in charge of 40 wells in the Fahud field of PDO. It would typically take me about 10 minutes per well to check the data for each well, which was a waste of time because in 85% of the time, these wells would have performed perfectly fine,” he says. “This lead me to introduce the concept of EBS (Exception based Surveillance) which eventually enabled us to monitor 440 wells in the same 10 minutes,” he added.
As a Reservoir Engineer with over 25 years of experience with PDO, he admits the issues he faced towards growing the use of digital transformation solutions over the years. “From there, I thought that we could simply cut-and-paste the solution to other fields in PDO and we can replicate the efficiency and value generated, but it wasn’t that simple”.
Explaining how he was able to popularise Nibras platform from its initial tough days, Dr Riyadh says “The digital transformation was a long journey going back 10 years, with our efforts really paying off in the last 6 years.”
One key milestone in the journey of the platform was the introduction of lean methodology in PDO in 2012. With its focus on establishing value in the eyes of the customer, it made the team realize that the true customers where not management or specialists but actually the people who had to use the platform day-in and day-out. By shifting focus to the real customers and focusing on change management they were able to overcome existing adoption issues.
He recollects how initially the company spent 2-3 years trying to implement the technology in PDO, approaching it from a technical point of view; and only later, through Lean, was able to follow a more holistic approach which resulted in significant user and organizational adoption.
“Today, the Nibras platform is the nervous system of PDO: used by over 1,800 users in PDO’s 15 asset management teams,” he says. “The value comes from having an agile platform and a dynamic approach that enable us to best integrate people, process and technology to achieve our business objectives,” he added.
In an effort to maximize ICV (In Country Value), PDO with the support of the Ministry of Oil and Gas decided to commercialize Nibras and launch its sophisticated IP into the digital transformation arena globally. iNNOVATEQ was officially launched by Sayed Kamil bin Fahad Al Said in COMEX’19 which was held in Muscat in March 2019. The launch proved to be a big boost as it evoked a good response from potential clients in Oman, regionally and globally. The launch also generated interest in Nibras from other industries, especially downstream Oil and Gas.
As someone who had been with PDO for 28 years, Dr Riyadh’s unique combination of expertise in Well, Reservoir and Facility Management enabled him to champion and coordinate the significant transformation in PDO’s world-class performance.
As a parting shot, he says “our aspiration is for Nibras to become an industry standard. We believe that not only to be possible, but that we would be able to break into other industries, and in a big way.”