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Global Interoperability in the Oil and Gas Industry

Technology's driving purpose is to make our lives easier. Technology in all its evolving forms helps humans go about their lives more efficiently. But what happens when technologies diverge and advance separately in parallel (or even unparallel) streams?

Global interoperability in the oil and gas industry

ISO 15926 in the oil and gas industry 

As the world moves closer to a true 'global village' these 'streams' must eventually converge and operate in harmony with other technologies and systems. This is where the concept and importance of global interoperability comes in. In developing future technologies and their systems, we must plan for integration and interoperability with other systems around the globe. Doing this allows for uncapped growth in an infinite number of directions as the world continues to grow and advance our technologies. ISO 15926 assists organisations in creating and developing global interoperability through a common language: globally standardised data.

What is the international Standard ISO 15926? 

ISO 15926 is an international Standard concerning the representation and exchange of data concerning the life cycle of industrial plants. It specifies an ontology for asset planning for process plants, and is a driving force behind comprehensive and future-focused data integration within the oil and gas industry. This Standard is also applicable to other process industries associated with the refining of hydrocarbons, the generation of electric power, and the manufacture of chemical and pharmaceutical products.


ISO 15926's purpose

ISO 15926 is generic and is usable in a variety of domains, from the medical domain, to any number of industries with process plants, including oil and gas production facilities. This Standards serves two purposes: 

  1. To facilitate global interoperability. This is defined as 'a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, present or future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions.' Global interoperability allows for smoother global cooperation.
  2. To archive necessary information. By collecting and integrating plant life system information, organisations can optimise operations, plan their next upgrades, uncover trends, correlations, and causations (knowledge mining), and do deep root cause analysis.


What is global interoperability? 

ISO 15926 has been called “the lingua franca of global interoperability” by Hans Teijgeler, the Standard's co-author.  All systems should allow for optimisation, and to do that there needs to be accessible clear communication. When systems use different 'languages' however, things slip through the cracks and pieces of crucial information can get lost. Interoperability allows interfaces within a system to be completely understood, and to work with other systems (in the present or in the future) without any restrictions.


The information exchange that interoperability allows provides organisations with the tools needed to continually optimise their systems, both internally over time as well as externally with other organisations within their industry. The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) estimates the cost of inadequate interoperability due to varying data formats to be between $20.9 billion and $42.9 billion per year globally, making it an endeavour well-worth embarking on. 


True global interoperability requires agreement over four areas, sometimes referred to as 'the 4 D's'. These are: 


1. Data - the format, interpretation and scope of the information to be exchanged
2. Delivery - the means by which the data is conveyed
3. Discovery - how companies, services, capabilities and data elements are identified and made accessible to all parties
4. Directives - the local, national, cross-border, business rules and legislation that have to be accounted for within the exchange process


By agreeing on these four points, organisations will be able to digitalise and standardise their systems, making it more efficient and cost-effective for all involved. ISO 15926 provides the ability to build common data models. It is a pattern for facts, reducing complex statements into simpler ones and communicating information in the ontology language. The standardisation of templates makes rich semantic structures practical while using flexible and precise language for ontology building. 

A future-focused solution

The oil and gas industry is one of the most important industries; It underpins much of modern society, and has allowed for humanity to (quite literally) shoot for the stars. With the fuel it provides, this industry keeps the entire world running. By encouraging and facilitating global interoperability, ISO 15926 pushes for a sleeker, more efficient future of data and optimisation.

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