Kongsberg Gruppen ASA

08/28/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/28/2018 02:20

Digital brains in Kristiansand

Kristiansand has traditionally had a large oil industry and it was from this environment that the company Sense Technology came to be in 2002. Two entrepreneurs began to collect sensor data from drilling operations in the North Sea. The data shows friction, pressure, speed, temperature, drilling resistance and other important parameters.

For the first time, this data was collected, standardised and presented in one single interface, in real time, whilst drilling was underway. The result was a product that, six years later, was voted the Engineering Feat of the Year by the magazine Teknisk Ukeblad.

'This was the start of the products that we now know as SiteCom, Discovery and Well Advisor', says Ted Abramsen, Development Manager and Site Manager at Kongsberg Digital in Kristiansand.

Into KONGSBERG in 2008

Today, the department in Kristiansand comprises 27 people who work on the development, sales and installation of decision support systems for the oil and gas industry. The bulk of the employees are data and civil engineers, but there is also a petroleum engineer and employees who work in finance and IT.

The environment in Kristiansand has formed a part of KONGSBERG since they were acquired in 2008. We find solid companies on the customer list, with Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Equinor, CNOOC and Baker Hughes GE being the largest.

'The oil companies do not want to commit to a single supplier when they invest in drilling and well technology. They follow an open standard that makes it possible for us to deliver our solutions regardless of who has supplied the sensors from which we retrieve data', explains Ted Abramsen, pointing out a certificate on the wall.

'WITSML is an industry standard for the transfer of data between automation and information systems within the oil and gas sector. We were involved with the development of this standard, and it is a necessity for third-party companies like us to be able to enter the market with our products', explains Abramsen.

Forewarning of problems

SiteCom, Discovery and Well Advisor are tools that are used to optimise different types of drilling operations. One operation that serves as a good example is Casing Running, where the walls of the drill hole are reinforced with a steel casing.

In collaboration with BP, Kongsberg Digital has developed an algorithm that calculates whether the casing is about to get stuck. Since the algorithm was put into use, the customer has seen a considerable reduction in the number of instances of the casing getting jammed in the drill hole.

This has resulted in savings of around 200 million dollars, in terms of the extra work the customer would normally have to expect.

'SiteCom Well Advisor tells the operators what is about to occur, and gives advice on what action they should take. The system functions as a dashboard on which operators can follow parameters for the different parts of a drilling operation. Our systems collect real-time data from the rig and downhole and run algorithms to find out whether problems are about to occur', says Product Director Jan Kåre Igland.

In addition to the operators on board the platform, the information is also shared with control centres on land. Work is now underway to connect the different products with Kognifai, KONGSBERG's proprietary digital platform.

'We are working to get the data up into the cloud and add features such as artificial intelligence and machine learning', says Igland.

Global Market

SiteCom is sold globally, and today Kongsberg Digital has customers in most parts of the world.

'Our customers are normally oil companies, from supermajors to smaller independent companies, but we also have customers within service companies and rig owners. We are known as a quality solution among independent suppliers. We have traditionally had a strong image amongst the very largest oil companies who have a need for robust, scalable solutions. SiteCom is also very strong on the Norwegian shelf, where we have the largest portion of the market', says Stian Skjaevesland, Sales Manager, Drilling &Wells.

Like the rest of the oil service industry, Kristiansand has experienced a significant drop since 2014 when oil prices began to fall.

'We have experienced difficult times over the last few years, but relatively speaking we have managed better than many others. There has been a definite decline in new projects and investments, and this has also affected us. Now there is a clear improvement in the market, there are several tenders out, but the competition is extremely tough. In particular, the large service companies are showing that they are willing to go extremely low to win market shares, and this makes it so that we also have to be even tougher to stake our claim.'

'What are the prospects for these markets?'

'We take a positive view of the future. The large digitisation wave has hit the industry and brings with it many opportunities, but will also require us to go slightly beyond our core area and be willing to change in pace with customer needs', says the sales manager.

On the way out of the wave's depths?

K-magazine is visiting Kongsberg Digital on the same day that the department is holding some team building activities and this year's summer party. Colleagues from Stavanger and Asker are present, and the task is to brainstorm new features and applications for the products.

The offices are located at Sør Arena, which is home to the football team Start. From the window, employees have views over Topdalsfjorden, where a drilling rig in dry dock testifies to the tough times in the offshore industry.

'When the market was at its peak, they only spent a few days here in the fjord. Now it's there indefinitely, waiting for brighter times. We see signs that better times are on the way, but it will still take some time', concludes Ted Abramsen.