The cloud has allowed us to work in a much more iterative fashion. We can instantly start working on a problem and build a minimum-viable product that allows us to test key assumptions rapidly.
Shelly Kalms General Manager, Woodside

Innovation and analytics have always been in Woodside’s DNA. Headquartered in Perth, the global oil and gas company migrated to the AWS Cloud, and has reaped the benefits of speed, flexibility, and rapid experimentation. “The cloud has enabled a culture of tackling bigger problems,” says Shaun Gregory, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Woodside. “Our innovation mantra is to think big, prototype small, and scale fast. And the cloud has really helped us do that.”

Woodside has been data-driven for a long time, but previously, analytics were performed in deep silos of expertise. To further promote digital and cultural transformation, the company formed its Data Sciences Group after migrating to the cloud. The purpose of the Data Sciences group is to unlock these silos and find insights by sharing data across the organization.

“If we need to deliver an insight to the business to make a decision, they need that insight now. When we first started out, delivering a new analytics algorithm would take us three to six months. We’re now seeing that turnaround in a matter of weeks or sometimes in a matter of days,” says Shelly Kalms, general manager, Science at Woodside.

Woodside’s Pluto Liquefied Natural Gas facility in Western Australia is now equipped with 200,000 sensors that monitor operations 24/7. By connecting these IoT sensors to the AWS Cloud, says Gregory, “we’ve been able to optimize the production and maintenance in a way that we were never able to do in the past.”

For example, Woodside used sensor data to build an algorithm that allows the team to predict and prevent foaming in the Acid Gas Removal Unit (AGRU), a critical part of the production process that cannot be monitored directly. Currently, Woodside runs more than 6,000 algorithms on the sensor data from its Pluto plant.

Flexibility and the freedom to experiment are redefining the Woodside culture. People are the organization’s most valuable asset, and they no longer have to wait for algorithms to run.

“The cloud has allowed us to work in a much more iterative fashion. We can instantly start working on a problem and build a minimum-viable product that allows us to test key assumptions rapidly,” says Kalms. Problem solving using rapid experimentation is a concept that has spread to other parts of the business, changing the way more traditional and engineering analysis work.

But Woodside’s transformation is far from over. Gregory notes how the company aspires to become more predictive using Artificial Intelligence (AI). “The next step on our innovation cycle is to merge AI and IoT to really augment and inform better decision-making,” he concludes.

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