Norway's Safety Authority Releases Report on Digitalization's Effect on HSE

The petroleum industry is becoming increasingly dependent on digital systems, and companies have ambitious plans for increased use of digital technology—along the entire value chain. A new report shows how digitalization affects health, safety, and the environment.


Digitalization involves the introduction of digital technology, such as computer engineering methods and tools, to replace, streamline, or automate manual and physical tasks. In the petroleum industry, this involves the increased use of integrated operations, remote operations, automatization, robot technology, artificial intelligence, and access to computer resources in order to analyse large volumes of data.

Effects of Digitalization
This development is capable of producing more efficient work processes, replacing manual labour, yielding better analyses, and improved decision-making. This may have clear benefits for health, safety, and the environment (HSE) and increased efficiency.

The development may also bring challenges, notably concerning situational awareness, information security, human error, and sabotage. The industry, therefore, must actively monitor changes related to risk resulting from digitalization.

Consolidates Knowledge
The Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) is now publishing a report that consolidates and analyzes knowledge of the effects of digitalization on HSE in the petroleum industry.

This report is part of the PSA's ongoing effort to increase knowledge and understanding on digitalization and security.

"The report has been prepared by IRIS Research Institute as part of the PSA project on digitalization in the petroleum industry. A primary aim of this project is to provide better understanding of development trends in digitalization, the consequences of digitalization for people, technology and organisation, and to make recommendations for strategies and tactics for following this up,"
 said project manager Linn Iren Vestly Bergh.

The report is based on a review of relevant literature and documents, workshops, and interviews with domain experts, informants from a variety of petroleum industry companies and organizations.

The study shows that the present focus is primarily on the development and use of tools and process to improve decision-making, collaboration, and automatization. The period in which the industry finds itself, with mature technology and high pressure on efficiency and costs, is described as a period with increased focus on the development and use of new technology while at the same time operating in traditional systems and work processes.

According to the report, the digitalization initiatives in the industry will bring about a radical change in the way the companies work, and it is emphasized that digitalization does not only involve changes in work processes in the individual companies' own operations and organization but also the implementation of new forms of collaboration and business models. The report also raises questions about whether the employees are sufficiently involved in the digitalization processes.

Read the full story here.

Find the report here (PDF; Norwegian).