Woodside backs tech to cut its operating costs

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Woodside backs tech to cut its operating costs
Image credit: Woodside Energy Ltd

Invests in process automation, data systems and sensors.

Woodside Energy is investing in information systems, process automation and sensor technologies that it hopes will contribute to an overall 30 percent reduction in the cost of operating its assets over the next three years.

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer laid out ambitions for the 30 percent cost reduction for operated assets last month, and made clear that technology will play a role in meeting this goal in its half-year results.

“Woodside is streamlining processes, utilising technology to enable more informed decision-making and automating routine tasks,” the company said in its sustainability report, released Wednesday.

“[We have] designed and developed low-cost field sensors and are deploying these on our assets so we can monitor the condition of equipment and maintain [the equipment] when needed. 

“Work has also commenced on automating workflows for some routine tasks while maintaining effective controls that protect our people and operations.”

CEO Meg O’Neill told financial analysts that the cost-out initiative drive “is essential for us to maintain cost competitiveness in a dynamic market.”

“We are bringing improvements off the drawing board and deploying them in the field, with a focus on streamlining our processes and utilising technology to inform decision-making and automate routine tasks,” she said.

“We have also deployed low-cost field sensors on assets so we can more effectively monitor equipment and be more targeted with our maintenance.”

O’Neill said that Woodside’s teams are “really making great progress in terms of changing how we do our activities to achieve those goals.”

She added that there is no capital expenditure associated with the initiative, with technology investments drawn from operating expenditure (OpEx).

“A lot of it is around how we do our work, so while we are investing in technology that’s all done on OpEx,” she said.

“We are spending a bit of OpEx but we do expect to get significant OpEx savings from that spend.”

Woodside reported an underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) of US$354 million, up 17 percent on the corresponding period in 2020.

The company added that it is also “expanding the Pluto Remote Operations Centre [to] extend existing remote operations capabilities to enhance safety and productivity”, though did not provide further details on this work.

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