Digital Solution Advances Environmental Efforts
A new tool developed by Kosmos Energy is allowing the exploration and production company to keep better track of the effect it is having on the environment.
A new tool developed by Kosmos Energy is allowing the exploration and production (E&P) company to keep better track of the effect it is having on the environment. The Environmental Reporting App was launched in 2019. “This tool allows Kosmos Energy to better understand the impact that our operations have on the environment,” said Lee Thomas, Kosmos’ health, safety, and environment (HSE) manager for the Gulf of Mexico. Thomas oversaw the app’s development. “This better understanding will then allow us to make informed decisions on future reduction strategies,” he said.
Environmental Reporting App
The app is a tool to digitize the federally regulated environmental reporting on carbon and waste generated on Kosmos offshore rigs, as well as seismic vessels, helicopters, and support vessels. Additionally, the app is used to assist with voluntary industry reporting for Kosmos’ worldwide operations.
Kosmos HSE Vice President Charles Dudek, who conceptualized and led the initiative, said, “We had been researching strategic methods to collect and analyze our emissions data accurately and efficiently when we realized we could create the Environmental Reporting App using in-house resources. That allows us to do just this and more.”
The Environmental Reporting App contains six modules that capture fuel data and its associated greenhouse-gas emissions, mud recordings, solid-waste data, wastewater data, and information on drill cuttings and E&P waste. Each interactive module functions as a historical data repository, tracks real-time information, and identifies trends among offshore rigs and vessels across the Atlantic margin operations.
The initiative replaced a manual procedure at Kosmos that involved recording data into Excel spreadsheets. The Excel spreadsheets were emailed from the rig, seismic boats, and platform supply vessels (PSVs) and were consolidated before reports could be generated, a cumbersome process (Fig. 1) that incurred delays in communication. Another drawback of this process was inefficient databasing of historical records; recollection of specific records on any given day required the cumbersome and time-consuming process of manually sorting daily Excel files. Also, loss or modification of data became difficult to monitor as the repository of daily Excel reports grew.
However, as the company grew, Kosmos realized that an innovative solution was necessary to reinforce its commitment to reducing environmental effects in an efficient and accurate manner. Kosmos’s HSE team put great effort into conceptualizing the initiative and implementing the digitized work flow (Fig. 2).
The Environmental Reporting App pilot introduced the first and the most-critical module: Fuel. Historical values that had been stored in Excel were transferred to the Fuel module, and the rig-based HSE personnel were trained on recording real-time data directly into the application from mobile devices. The data from the offshore rigs immediately populated a daily fuel report, providing instant visibility across the company on fuel and lubricant measurements. The measurements were categorized by dates, rigs, sources, and carriers.
Since the success of the pilot, all six modules have been incorporated into daily operations at Kosmos within 12 weeks, with extended data capturing from seismic vessels and PSVs.
Since then, the effect of the Environmental Reporting App has been evident. The digital solution has improved the consistency of reporting, the accuracy of measurements, and the predictive analysis of data.
Accuracy in Data Quality
A major effect of the Environmental Reporting App is the improved accuracy of data quality from the elimination of manual processes. Federal reporting requires standardization of all data; all volumes must be reported in cubic meters, while all masses are reported in kilograms. During the pilot, Kosmos had three active rigs, all of which output data using a combination of imperial and metric units. With the old, manual work flow, the HSE team performed manual unit conversions before generating reports. All historical data also had inconsistent unit measurements. This affected data quality and reporting and was a major cause of concern for the HSE team.
To eliminate this, the app allows data to be entered in various measurements and performs automated conversions on the back end while retaining the data in its original format. The report shows data in its original format, but, for federal reporting purposes, the HSE team can query the standardized reporting units.
Also more accurate is the process of data entry itself. A daily environmental report allows for editing, as did the Excel process; however, the app also tracks who performs edits as well as why the editing is being performed.
The most notable aspect of the app is the ability to calculate greenhouse-gas emissions based on fuel and lubricant consumption captured in the Fuel module. As soon as the consumption data is input (Fig. 3), the app outputs the reciprocating emissions for various greenhouse gases instantly.
With the Excel worksheets, these calculations also used to be a manual process. The result is quality data that saves time and effort while focusing on environmental effects (Fig. 4).
One effect of the app has been a greater consistency in reporting, the result of a controlled structure and a user-friendly interface. The hierarchy of the tool mimics that of the previous Excel spreadsheets for a seamless switch from Excel to the app but with easy dropdown menus to guide the detailed recording of data.
In the Solid Waste module, for example, multiple types of waste can be recorded for each rig or vessel. For instance, nonhazardous waste is divided into two categories, recyclable and nonrecyclable. The nonrecyclable category is further refined by a dropdown menu containing several subcategories: general waste, sanitary, wood, rubber, expired food to sea, and other waste. In all, the hierarchy of the Solid Waste module enables the consistent recording of 24 different types of waste in various units (imperial and metric), which then can be viewed and aggregated for specific time ranges (Fig. 5).
The greatest benefit for Kosmos has been the transition to visualizing and understanding trends in every environmental module. For example, at a glance, one can quickly discern abnormal peaks in various wastewater discharges in a given time range (Fig. 6).
Even the E&P Waste module, which contains data that was previously scanned and stored in folders, is now an interactive hub that tracks data and produces metrics.
Based on the data in each of the six modules, the Environmental Reporting App generates graphs for historical or real-time analysis, all controlled by the user using the time filter on each module. Patterns that were not easily discernable in Excel, such as spikes in emissions on certain dates, are now clear (Fig. 7). Kosmos can easily compare the emission rates of rigs or specific vessels for last year, last quarter, or currently. This was precisely the vision the HSE team had for this digital initiative.
Kosmos HSE Compliance Coordinator Gisele Gros-Dubois said, “The ability to capture and track our current environmental footprint accurately will allow us to identify areas for reduction.” The Environmental Reporting App bolsters efforts by Kosmos Energy to reduce environmental effects, one of the more strategic issues facing the industry today.
As Kosmos gains insight into environmental trends, the HSE team is working on more ways to leverage the technology. Gros-Dubois said she envisions the app will meet all of the company’s HSE data needs moving forward.
The authors would like to acknowledge Charles Dudek, HSE vice president at Kosmos Energy, and Jay Bailey, consultant director from the ERM Group, for their guidance and valuable input throughout every phase of the project.