Four Offshore Trends That Mean Weather Data is More Important Than Ever

Whether you’re working on a wind farm construction, an oil rig, or dredging navigation channels, it’s no surprise that the weather impacts your work. This has always been the case for offshore companies. So the question is, why now? What changes are happening that mean weather data, especially in the margins, is important. We’ve identified four trends that help answer this question.

1- Oceans are becoming more stormy

Recent research published in Science has revealed that the world’s oceans are becoming more stormy. Over the last 30 years, increases in average wave height and wind speeds have been observed.

In the Southern Ocean, for example, average wind speeds have increased by 8% or 1.5 meters per second, and average wave heights have increased by 5% or 30cm. While these increases might not sound massive, if the trend is sustained over time, it means that the weather would become more extreme and put offshore structures at risk in the future.


Take away: Weather is becoming more, not less likely to impact on Offshore operations.


2- Efficiency and cost savings remain on the agenda

Since the oil and gas downturn in 2014, efficiency has been a top priority. Pressures from the subsequent fall in oil prices have driven cost savings through the industry. Procurement teams have been charged with making everything as cost-effective as possible. It means that often the cheapest suppliers win. In the context of weather data, this can mean that accuracy and reliability are sacrificed.


Take away: Cutting on weather data means you don’t have all the information to make the close calls. It’s penny-wise and pound-poor.


3- Digitization and technology advances

There has been a growing focus on digitization in offshore, with a World Economic Forum report estimates that digitization could create $1.6 trillion worth of value for the oil and gas industry. As well, it is the top priority for R&D investment in 2019 for offshore companies. Digitization will also help support collaboration between companies, by streamlining information sharing.

Specifically, with regards to weather data, digitization will mean APIs can be used to enable access to forecasts using in house technology and systems. This will help create a complete view and will help to integrate forecasts into the decision-making process.


Take away: Weather data helps communication and decision-making, as part of any drive towards digitization.


4- Managing personal reputation

When you have to make a million dollar decision to work or not work, based on the weather, you need confidence that the data you’re using is accurate. When conditions are marginal, people want to utilize as many sources of information as possible because, if they make the wrong call, it reflects poorly on them.

The false alarm means they increased the cost of the project because they don't work when they actually could have worked; it also impacts on their reputation.

Take away: Accurate weather forecasts give you more confidence in your decisions.


What do these trends really mean?

The offshore industry is trying to balance changing weather conditions, cost-savings, and efficiency - all while maintaining their reputation and embracing digitization. Accurate weather forecasts can help.
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