Do More with Less. Optimize Offshore Operations with Accurate Weather Data

Offshore companies are challenged to do more with less. So it’s not a surprise that many companies are exploring how more accurate weather forecasts can minimize expensive weather-related downtime.

In the offshore industry, timely, accurate and actionable weather data is critical. No matter where you are working globally, metocean conditions affect all areas operations. Therefore, reliable and accurate forecasting essential to increase operating thresholds and maximize vessel operability on a project.

At the same time, offshore companies around the world are being challenged to do more with less. The priority for many is to optimize operations, without compromising on safety at sea. Many offshore companies are, therefore, exploring how more accurate weather forecasts can help minimize expensive weather-related downtime.


Driving out inefficiency in operations

Driving out inefficiency is increasingly important for offshore drilling contractors and suppliers. Both operators and contractors are reviewing options to reduce headcount on rigs, including moving jobs onshore and integrating services.

Alongside this, the industry must also battle with the typical compensation structure for offshore services. As new fixtures on rigs around the world approach operating cost levels, day rates for all rig types have predictably reduced between 2014 to 2018. Industry experts predict this is unlikely to change. Therefore, the philosophy of “Do More with Less” is the new reality for many in the industry. 

Weather data has a vital role in unlocking cost benefits in an offshore project, at in every phase of the project lifecycle. However, to use weather data strategically, raw weather data is only part of the solution. Making sense of the weather for your company or project also relies on knowing historical weather data and forecasting the future. In short, the more you know about weather patterns, the more strategic your decision making will be. To put this into practice, here are the three ingredients you need: 


#1 Hyper local information 

If you gather hyper local weather information in real-time, you facilitate instant decision making, based on facts. This insight comes in handy when you want to have insight into conditions at specific offshore locations, and use this data to inform the forecasts for project sites.

You can use the information to access more accurate weather data. As a result, companies can expect to have more weather windows and fewer false alarms. This advantage enables them more project uptime, prevents damage to equipment and minimizes the risk of life-threatening situations. 


#2 Accurate hindcasting, forecasting and calculation models 

The more you know about weather patterns, the easier it becomes to make the right strategic decisions. Hindcasting and forecasting alone bring you nothing but raw data, meaning you’ll need to combine this information with other business data. With the right calculation models, hindcasting and forecasting can be turned into concrete business answers. 



#3 Weather experts that understand weather and your business challenges 

Do you switch off when you hear words like “algorithms” and “models”? Don’t worry. Meteorology is a specialism, meaning specialists that can do the work for you. Whether you have in-house meteorologists or not, calling in the help of a third party is a good idea when starting with strategic weather data. This is because the possibilities are endless, and there’s no need for you to explore them all. Sometimes, all you need is a “yes” or “no” or a percentage, such as whether or not an appropriate weather window exists at the time you want to work. 

Therefore, sit down with a party that knows how to use weather data strategically. They can help you deploy it IT-wise so that you can focus on results instead of weather maps and forecasts. They can collaborate with your meteorologists and come up with a plan and pass on their knowledge to them. This way, you can have your strategic weather plan up and running in no time. 

Advances in the weather technology industry mean that weather rooms process more data than ever before. As a result, they now have the flexibility to scale up forecasts to a high resolution, as needed, using a dedicated in-house model, which is nested in regional grids. Advances like this enable meteorologist to provide more localized forecasting - essential for the offshore industry.

Marginal weather opening up new opportunities (and efficiencies) on projects

Decisions made on marginal weather conditions can have significant consequences on a project. Make the right call, and you can increase the days working on a project; get it wrong, and it can lead to unnecessary downtime. 

These decisions must be made with as much confidence as possible, with regular updates supported with accurate data. 


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