Advanced process control and data analytics improving margins in oil refining operations: Accenture survey

New Delhi: Digital technologies including advanced process controland data analytics are driving the greatest margin improvement in refining operations and refiners globally are allocating increasing amount of digital budget to these technologies. These are the key findings from a surveyon digital technology in the refining industry conducted by Information Technology services firm Accenture.

The survey covered 169 executives, functional leaders and engineers at refineries globally and highlights the financial benefits that digital technologies can provide. “There is a need for more effective management of refiners digital strategies, with one-quarter of executives saying there is currently no clear role within the organization driving the digital strategy. In fact, 43 per cent reported that this lack of a clear digital strategy is a barrier preventing further adoption of digital technologies in their refineries,” stated the study. 

While only 11 percent of respondents said their company currently has a chief digital officer driving the digital agenda, many refiners are making governance changes for digital transformation. The survey found one-third respondents are creating new organizational structures, more than one quarter are launching a steering committee, and 15 per cent are creating new C-level positions. 

“Refiners are currently reaping just a fraction of the value that digital can yield,” said Tracey Countryman, a Managing Director at Accenture. “The next step will be to combine and deploy multiple technologies to totally reinvent business processes and drive plant-wide transformational change,” she said.

The survey also found that data security is a major barrier to adopting digital technologies in oil refineries even as cyberattacks on refineries are on a rise. The online survey was conducted in March 2018 by PennEnergy Research in partnership with the Oil and Gas Journal. It was conducted on behalf of Accenture.