Standardisation is urgent

The need for standardisation is becoming urgent. And the need to achieve optimisation gains is greater than ever. This is the view of Sturle Bergaas, VP Standardisation & Supply Chain Management at Statoil. He opened a seminar at the Statoil Business Center April 26; a major event for all those working on standardisation processes in Norway.

Two men speaking

Runar Østebø (right) acted as chair while Sturle Bergaas opened the recent seminar on standardisation within the petroleum industry. Both Østebø and Bergaas hold key roles within Statoil's standardisation work.

“Quality” and “cost” were the key words at the seminar at Statoil’s HQ in Stavanger, hosted by Statoil and Standards Norway in partnership with ISO. To Bergaas, who opened the seminar, there was every reason emphasise the importance of the standardisation work. 

- We need to focus more on this task in order to speed up implementation. Looking at the petroleum industry overall, the standardisation processes are not being implemented quickly enough, says Bergaas, who is responsible for simplification, standardisation and industrialisation (SSI) within Statoil.

He is involved in getting the standards out of the committee rooms and into the workplaces, and points out that Standards Norway has an important role to play in achieving this. 

- This needs to be a priority. Experts in this field within each company should be expected to be familiar with international standards and to integrate them into day-to-day operations. We are heading full steam away from costly tailoring to more effective, industrialised standards where there isn’t room for as many company-specific requirements as before.

Some way to go yet
Sturle Bergaas is open about the fact that the oil industry, including Statoil, has some catching up to do to become as industrialised as the automotive and maritime industries. 

- We can learn a lot from the maritime sector in particular. The classification requirements applied in ship building are reflected in wharfs all over the world. We can also look to the aviation industry to learn lessons about standardisation and safety considerations, says Bergaas.

- The challenge lies in upping the tempo. The need to achieve optimisation gains is greater than ever.

With this statement, Bergaas speaks for both Statoil and the petroleum industry as a whole. And the standardisation requirements apply locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Scope for innovation?
- Is there scope for innovation and new ideas in a standardisation regime? 

Absolutely, but innovative solutions will have a brighter future if they are created within an applicable standard, or if they result in the creation of a new standard. Innovation and standardisation must take place concurrently. If suppliers are familiar with and work based on predictable requirements applicable to the entire industry, they will be better placed to produce products and solutions that can be implemented more quickly. At the same time, we operators need to listen to the suppliers to find out what they can contribute.

A good example of the benefits of standardisation that many will be able to relate to is universal mobile phone chargers. Just think how expensive and impractical it is to have several different standards in one household. Would it not be so much easier if there was one, universal charger at home, in the car and in the holiday home?

A need to see results
The oil industry has plenty to get its head around. Statoil has been focusing heavily on standardisation work since early 2014, i.e. before the oil prices began to drop. 

- However, things are still not moving quickly enough. There is a need to pick up the pace. The adoption of new standards requires the involvement of numerous stakeholders who need to coordinate themselves across national borders, and this takes time. And if there’s one thing we’re short on in the oil industry at present, it’s time. Suppliers and operators need to see measurable results in their bottom lines. We need to ensure that standardisation takes place and is implemented, and that it results in increased profitability.

- Could standardisation and optimisation requirements have an adverse effect on safety?

- The aim is precisely the opposite. We will not compromise on safety. Standardisation and simplification can help us achieve less costly, safer and more sustainable operations.

Bergaas expresses impatience, but not concern. 

- I feel that there's a significant drive within the industry right now. Given the current oil price, now is the time. But we need to find better ways of collaborating in order to step up the pace when it comes to this work. Even though the public authorities contribute by coordinating standards and regulatory frameworks it is still the industry, and particularly the operators, who are responsible for making this happen.

(By Sindre Bø)

More articles from the seminar

ISO seminar in partnership with Statoil

Strong focus on standardisation in the petroleum sector

Accolade for french doyen


Man on a podium

Runar Østebø, Statoil


Last updated: 2016-05-11