You are Home   »   News   »   View Article

Statoil's CIO - keep it standardised but fast

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Statoil is keen to keep its IT systems standardised, so it is easier to keep them reliable - but would also like to increase the speed that new technology is rolled out, says Sonja Chirico Indrebø, CIO of Statoil

One of the most important things with a corporate IT system is to keep it as standardised as possible, says Sonja Chirico Indrebø, CIO of Statoil.

''You can''t let all the flowers bloom because it gets very complex,'' she said, speaking at the PIDX Autumn 2013 conference in London on October 16th.

The more standardised the system is, the easier it will be to keep it running. ''The system needs to have maximum uptime and availability,'' she said.

At the same time, Ms Indrebø is keen to speed up the implementation of new technology. It is frustrating when people think their children have better computing power than they do at work. ''A lot of people say ''my kids know this more than me,'' she said.

Corporate IT projects have traditionally taken a long time to implement, and perhaps this is why they are not upgraded very quickly. ''Previously we have been doing 3 year projects, for example ERP systems,'' she said. ''We spent a lot of time thinking what we are going to do. Once we realised it, it is already 3 years old and not exactly what you want.

Now, ''we said, this isn''t good enough. Now I give you maximum 12 months,'' she said.

Statoil is looking for ways to leapfrog technology steps, like the way much of Africa skipped over the fixed telephony stage and went straight to mobile phones, and now there is more mobile banking in Africa than there is in the US.

In a similar way, as Statoil gets involved in US onshore operations, it is looking for new IT techniques which are completely different to offshore, she says. ''We are looking at if we can use more mobile solutions.''

Statoil is moving towards a ''bring your own device'' (BYOD) policy with mobile computing for business use.

This means that the IT department do not have to waste time arguing with staff about what device they should have. ''BYOD means if you want pink then you go and buy it yourself,'' she said.

''We [the IT department] ensures we can do it in a secure way, that is the most critical part.''

Statoil has launched an internal ''app store'' - as a means of learning how to work with mobile architecture.

For example, it has an app to automatically convert financial data into other currencies on screen. ''We have a lot of people working with gas volumes who have to understand the exchange rate at any time,'' she said. ''We built an app which links to Reuters and can do the exchange rates in real time (rather than use a spreadsheet).''

The company is pushing data analytic tools. ''We''ve been digitising the company for many years,'' she says. ''When we digitise we get an enormous amount of data.''

''But without standards it''s impossible, you can''t correlate anything. The more data you get the IS challenge becomes bigger.''

Other areas where Ms Indrebø would like to see improvement include automating tasks (for example providing automated tracking information of shipments); improving visualisation, to help people work with information better; improving environmental surveillance using seabed sensors; and making drilling data from all drilling contractors available around the company in real time so it can be fed into other applications, including geological/ geophysical applications.

''The only people in our company not happy with the CIO are the finance and the HR people,'' she says.

Statoil sees information management (IM) and information security (IS) as part of the ''IT'' domain.

As an IT manager rather than a domain specialist, Ms Indrebø is not in a position to say which oil and gas information is important and which isn''t. But ''I can say what are the correct processes for master data, and then it is applied in different areas,'' she says.


Although the oil price is still high, the margins in the oil and gas industry are being shrunken, leading to pressure on costs. ''We have to look at how we are driving down our cost,'' she said.

Mr Indrebø thinks that the oil and gas industry could come under the same sort of cost pressure which the airline industry saw with the advent of budget airlines. ''It is coming very rapidly,'' she says. ''I think there is a big shift there and it will come much quicker than we anticipated.''

''What we''ve seen is the cost and returns are like a scorpion. It used to be the more you put in the more you get out. Now it''s the reverse,'' she says.

''It is not about outspending the competition it is about outsmarting.''

Statoil is finding itself competing against Chinese companies - when Statoil has about 35,000 people including contractors, and China National Petroleum Corporation has 1.6 million.

''Maybe China will be our Ryanair,'' she says. ''I would rather be early than sorry.''

Associated Companies
» Statoil
comments powered by Disqus


To attend our free events, receive our newsletter, and receive the free colour Digital Energy Journal.


Latest Edition Aug-Sept 2020
Aug 2020

Download latest and back issues


Learn more about supporting Digital Energy Journal