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The coming decade within the energy industry will be characterized by unparalleled restructuring, digital disruption and bold ambitions combined with sustainable solutions. As the industry gathered at Energy:Connected in Norway to share perspectives and ideas, many speakers declared the race to net-zero a historic opportunity for the energy industry.

In collaboration with the industry, the authorities will work to reduce emissions from oil and gas production on the Norwegian shelf by 50 percent by 2030 and to net-zero in 2050. What does this mean to the industry sector?

Without a doubt, the oil and gas industry is standing in front of a bumpy road. As environmental concerns and alternative energy sources set a new agenda, there is no business as usual. Add to that the insecurity within the whole energy sector due to the invasion of Ukraine.

At the same time, as the green transition is accelerating, new doors are opened. According to Terje Aasland, Minister of Petroleum and Energy and one of the speakers, cutting emissions and helping others to cut theirs, is also about creating new jobs, new activity, and opportunities in national and international markets. 

How do you speed up innovation?

The race to net-zero mainly depends on speed and scale in innovation. How can we change our innovation mindset and perspectives? How can we move faster in an ever-changing world? How can we scale to real impact? How can we build a collaborative ecosystem?

Cognizant’s Nordic CTO and Innovation Officer (CTIO) Thomas F. Anglero says that innovation isn’t so much about technology. Instead, it’s about relationships, trust, collaboration, and fostering an internal culture with people at the center. To solve the demanding energy-related challenges, the work and home-office environment must be an empowering platform, where innovative thoughts are elevated to flourish to think differently and question past assumptions and ways of doing things, all while feeling trusted.
Kjersti Reinsnos, Managing Director Europe, Equinor Ventures, shares many of the ideas on how to build an innovative culture. Equinor Ventures is actively investing in net-zero initiatives and also emphasizes that companies need to differentiate innovation from operations. They must have suitable KPIs to drive innovation, KPIs that aren’t necessarily coherent with KPIs to maintain everyday operations.   

The industry is turning to digital

The oil and gas industry is increasingly turning to digital to deliver more energy options, reduce costs and provide higher customer satisfaction. This development has been fast-forwarded amid the Covid crises, as surveyed in Cognizant’s Energy & Utilities report.

According to Birgitte Engebretsen, CMO at Telenor, technology is an enabler for innovation that will help solve customer issues by digitizing operations. It’s within the intersection between the three improvement drivers it happens: IoT (collect data), 5G (give connectivity and real-time data) and AI (real-time analysis). She calls it “the perfect storm” that will enable and scale up innovation, and some examples of this are hospitals without wallsautonomous factories, and smart energy with smart grids, drones to improve maintenance and automatic re-routing of power. 

Erik Åsberg, CTO at eSmart Systems, works with utilities globally to improve their inspections and inspection and maintenance of critical energy infrastructure. Among other things, the company uses AI-powered software solutions to support inspection management and asset information management services.

Carbon capture part of the solution

To reach the net-zero goal, carbon capture will play a vital role. According to Jim Stian Olsen, CTO at Aker Carbon Capture, we need to take it to a commercial stage beyond governmental funding. An example of this is the Technology Center Mongstad, where they test, verify and demonstrate various technologies related to cost-effective and full-scale industrial CO2 capture. The aim is to facilitate the spread of carbon capture technology in various industries.

All in all, a challenging yet exciting future ahead, with opportunities as well as obstacles to overcome to accelerate the net-zero agenda. Let’s get inspired by Rod Pyle, space historian and author, who sees no borders for new energy solutions with space-based solar power.

To learn more, please also visit Cognizant’s Oil and Gas section of the web.

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