As 2019 is coming to an end, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months and look towards the new year ahead of us.Peter Adam, our Executive Vice President, shares insights into the last year within the energy sector, and shares his highlights, and learnings, as well as his goals and tips for maintenance professionals to take into 2020.
A look back at 2019...
Q: How would you sum up the past 12 months in the energy industry?
“A lot of companies in the energy sector have been right-sizing, and we’ve seen a consolidation of that throughout 2019.
“We’ve continued to see more green shoots throughout the year, particularly around business improvement and efficiency, setting businesses up for success in 2020 and beyond. More and more people are making a considered effort to invest in improvements, certainly around safety.”
Q: How would you describe the past year in 3 words?
“Speculative but nervous.”
Q: What big changes or shifts did we see in 2019?
“We have seen a lot more R&D work across the industry, with a big focus on looking at how the industry can work smarter, faster and safer and how industry 4.0 will be leveraged in the energy sector.
“You can see this from the activity at OGTC and the rise in KTP projects with Innovate UK.”
Q: Did anything surprise you about the energy industry in 2019?
“What surprised me was how resilient so many businesses have been, with the ongoing low to moderate oil price. I guess this demonstrates that businesses have managed to right-size and consolidate. Add Energy has been fortunate to see continued growth at home and overseas during this period.”
Q: What were the biggest challenges faced in the energy industry this year?
“Companies have started to see manpower resource issues, with many struggling to attract new talent, and I believe this is going to be an ongoing issue for years to come.
"We’ve been through the downturn, and there is now a definite need to attract new people into our industry. This needs to be offset with technological and digital developments, but this requires confidence from quality projects which deliver and cultural change.
“Also, there hasn’t been the global recognition that hydrocarbon energy will still be a part of the energy mix for many years to come.”
Q: What were some of the biggest highlights for the Add Energy team this year?
“We’ve had a fantastic year, but the highlights have definitely been:
- Winning the prestigious Queen’s Award in October, and being one of just 8 Scottish companies to be recognised in the International Trade and Innovation category
- Working with super major oil companies on continuous improvement
- Launching Aim-Hi, our new cloud-based KPI management tool designed for maintenance teams, back in March
- Developing our new Asset Voice software for management change and asset tracking, which will be launching in 2020
- Further enhancing and building our asset and integrity management teams in both the UK and North America
- Opening our first office in Canada
- Securing our new office space in Aberdeen, that we’ll be moving into in 2020.”
Q: What are you most proud of this year?
“I’m proud that we’ve built such a strong team, which will enable us to capitalise on further growth in 2020 and leverage technological development through the next five years.”
Q: What was key to the division’s success this year?
“The blend of thought leadership and application of technology has been paramount to our success in 2019, as well as the value-add to our clients - which has centred around improved efficiency, uptime and safety.”
A look ahead at 2020...
Q: What opportunities do you think the energy industry will have in 2020?
“I think the biggest opportunities in 2020 are looking at how Industry 4.0 can be utilised to offset the growing demand for people and competency.
“Companies and their staff have suffered from people exiting the industry, and being forced to retire or find new pastures. And not as many people are rejoining or entering the industry.
"The challenge, but big opportunity, will be using technology and Industry 4.0 philosophies to ensure the industry doesn’t become manpower heavy again, and becomes highly cost-effective.”
Q: What are your goals for 2020?
“To continue to grow our North America business, and to focus on supporting our existing clients and helping them achieve their operational excellence goals.
“We’re also seeing growth in Africa, which we’ll be supporting in 2020 and beyond.
"We will be working hard to prepare our business for the next 10 years to 2030."
Q: What are you most looking forward to in business in 2020?
“We have some exciting new projects coming up around thought leadership - which will help us look at the future of the industry with our clients, and how we’re going to develop impactful technology.
“I’m excited about the amount of work we’ve already acquired, and how prosperous the business will be in 2020. We are happy to be continuing to deliver high value services to our existing clients and looking forward to the further growth of our client base - its exhilarating to support unique new areas and sectors, such as medical research, going forward.”
Q: Any exciting launches or news you can hint towards for 2020?
“We will be launching our exciting new Asset Voice software for oil and gas early next year.
“Our HQ in Aberdeen will also be moving into a larger office space in Aberdeen. This will allow us to consolidate four offices under one roof, which will be incredibly beneficial for our teams. It gives us extra capacity to grow the team, and great facilities to deliver training for clients and staff. It will also be an office that our team can be proud of, which will boost our culture and give them a more effective space to help them deliver their best work.”
Q: What advice would you give companies for optimising their asset and integrity management in 2020?
“It still remains true that you need to get the minimum standards right in the first place - your base data. This is hard work but a key success factor, and I'd recommend looking towards using technology to help you do this, and to efficiently sustain it.
“You have to be looking at technology to give you assurance, to make sure the job is being done well, and to give you the best efficiencies possible.
“It’s a mixture of setting out the right process, ensuring you have competent people, and demonstrating delivery of what you said you were going to do.
“My parting piece of advice it to leverage technology more and more to take away repeat or unnecessary work, and to give assurance. However don’t treat it as a silver bullet. It will require effort, a cultural change, and people adopting these tools to effectively use technology to make decisions."