Petrobras - build not buy!

Go Digital initiative includes SAP S/4 HANA deployment and 30 petaflop supercomputer, an AI ‘trip detector’ and ubiquitous digital twin deployment.

Petrobras’ 2019 Annual Report provides an update on the Brazilian oil’s digital transformation. In September 2019, the company created a ‘Digital transformation and innovation executive office’ headed by Nicolás Simone. The new office is to develop ‘a more consistent and synergic [digital] journey’. The new unit operates five major initiatives, ‘Go Digital’ (the technology platform), ‘Be Digital’ (digital and agile innovation), ‘Lean Petro’ (optimization and automation), ‘Innovating and R&D’ and ‘Protect’ (information security).

Under the ‘Go Digital’ banner, Petrobras is offering integrated data platforms and new technologies such as artificial intelligence. The upstream unit’s high-performance computing capability has tripled from 3 to 9 petaflops (slotted to exceed 30 PF by year-end 2020). The adoption of cloud-based solutions is said to ‘enhance our make vs. buy strategy’. A ‘Future ERP’ program involves a corporate SAP S/4 HANA deployment set to foster ‘agility and analytics-based decisions’. Petrobras expects this to increase productivity through process redesign and facilitate activities such as mergers and acquisitions.

Petrobras has also launched an internal startups program whereby entrepreneurs present potentially strategic digital technologies to a panel of execs. One successful program ‘Trip Detector’ uses AI to mitigate process upsets and suggest actions that avoid automatic shutdown. A 70% success rate is reported. Petrobras likes its’ TLAs*, viz: robotic process automation (RPA), enterprise service management (ESM) and business process management (BPM).

All of Petrobras’ digital initiatives come together in the deployment of digital twins, digital representations of operating facilities such as a platform, an oil reservoir, a submarine system, a critical equipment or a refinery. The twins are said to have the potential to contribute to a reduction of operating costs and to increase efficiency and safety in operations.

See also our 2018 interview with Petrobras’ Nelson Silva and Augusto Borella who discussed the opportunities expected from ‘digital transformation across the value chain’ and on ‘targeting the [disruptive] digital moonshot.’

* Three letter acronyms!

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