The Necessity of a Digital Toolbox

Marvin Oosterhof

Marvin Oosterhof

Marketing & Sales

We help energy companies with independent consulting services and software plant & IT solutions to improve the effiency.


As the Covid-19 pandemic evolves into an endemic, companies are returning to work under the “new normal”
conditions. Some employees are back onsite, while others are working in a hybrid mode (onsite only part-time), and still, others are working solely from a home office. More than ever before, this calls for
remotely operated and controlled asset management systems to keep plant machinery running smoothly.
In particular, the pandemic jolted the oil, gas and petrochemical industry into automating its processes
and doing more things remotely, requiring fewer personnel.

The days of Excel spreadsheets and disparate, standalone systems that address part of the plant’s
operations are definitely over. Team members now need to be in sync, sharing information across
multiple locations and disciplines for effective collaboration and critical decision-making. Recent
advancements in emerging technologies, like cloud computing, have helped to make the Digital Age a
reality, with any time, anywhere access to real-time data and safeguards to keep that data secure. This
has paved the way for a comprehensive tool or set of integrated tools, to combine engineering and
maintenance tasks into a centralized application for optimal asset management.

A Digital Toolbox

Manual and de-centralized data entry into disconnected systems needs to be replaced by a single “digital” toolbox, enabling asset management to be accomplished via analyzers more effectively and more efficiently. One, all-encompassing application—from analysis to maintenance—would allow technicians, engineers, operators, and managers to see everything and, importantly, to be on the same page for increased collaboration. With digital connectivity, this concept delivers information about equipment condition/health in real time for swift, proactive maintenance to be performed, thus, extending equipment life.

A centralized, web service can be hosted from on-premises or via the cloud, depending on the choice of network architecture. Remote access can be provided by any available means, such as a remote control center, to conduct equipment monitoring and control activities.


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What Needs to be in the Toolbox

The key factor is consolidation! The following basic items comprise a consolidated digital toolbox for oil and gas operators:

  • Live data from the field
    It all starts with needing to know the “live” status of the oil or gas field, especially when working at a distance (e.g. during Covid times). This includes process information, diagnostics, validation data, maintenance records, etc. Field operators need to look at data in its actual state, and then be able to escalate any problems that might require further analysis, maintenance, or even shutdown.

  • Tools to help find problems
    Statistical process control mechanisms build calculations that trigger events and actions (alarms, emails, reports, validations, etc.), automate knowledge of SMEs to find root cause problems and define trigger parameters, such as KPIs, and track performance in time for historical reference and trending.

    However, the automated tool cannot do it all; human intervention is needed to set the proper limits and to fully understand the root cause of a problem that might require onsite action by a trained technician. Note: Prediction is as powerful as the person making the algorithm for the prediction.

  • Maintenance scheduling & tracking
    Live data from the field opens opportunities to create maintenance tasks in a timely manner based on pre-defined triggers for desired levels, e.g. if downhole temperature is too low or too high, if pressure drops, or if fluid flow rate slows (indicating a filter may be plugged/needs replacement).

  • Reporting
    A proper digital toolbox automates report generation and provides Export options for distributing reports to designated individuals. This alleviates the tedious task of creating the same routine reports, allowing users to schedule when a report is needed, what report template to use, and then automatically email it to management. The time it takes to manually set up each report can be put to better use by focusing on value-added work for the company.



The digital toolbox has proved itself in the field, as described above. The cast of tools is already there, but more tools have yet to be explored and added as this technology approach matures. Regardless of technological advancements, however, it will always tie back to subject matter experts putting their know-how into the tools, so it can become the best set of tools for technicians in the field. This involves a transfer of knowledge from boomers to the next generation––preserving accumulated experience from over the years in the toolbox!

While a plethora of oilfield services and software companies (e.g. SAP, Maximal, Pi, and Hint, to name a few) are working in the same direction, they do not necessarily share the same vision. The recommended route is to ideally have everything in one digital toolbox and make it available as broadly as possible (web-accessible/networked) to support remote workers 24/7. It also has to be able to escalate issues to supervisors/managers in order to get technical help from experts and suppliers, if needed.

The AML Information Management toolbox from Hint Global is a viable solution, ready to go.