A Smarter Way to Harvest the Natural Resources Boom

IBM Australia oil and gas industry solutions executive David Haake explores how the resources industry can better utilise the boom.

Global demand for minerals and energy has positioned Australia for unprecedented economic growth in the next decade. 

Australia is riding high on the wave of a global resources boom market, and we have seen billions of dollars flow into our economy.

It has also led to remote areas of Australia being developed to enable the many new mining and oil and gas projects. 

However, despite the boom, the Australian resources sector faces engineering, regulatory, environmental, and logistics challenges – coupled with a dearth of qualified technical resources to address them. 

In short, Australia must seize the opportunity these global commodity markets present, but it must be done in a way that sustains and enriches “the Australian Way” of life.

The Australian resources sector needs to adopt more innovative and collaborative approaches to facing these challenges.

In the Digital Age, Australia is no longer “remote,” but rather, is interconnected economically and socially like never before. 

Business innovation and technology are “shrinking the planet,” increasing demand and raising market expectations, while helping lower costs and manage the risks inherent in these new resource ventures. 

The Australian resources sector will need to draw upon the global capabilities of their partners, suppliers and even their customers in new ways to seize the day, as we already see cost escalations, schedule delays, and additional risk emerging in these mega projects.   

As part of IBM’s philosophy of working smarter, IBM established a Natural Resources Solution Centre (NRSC) in Perth in 2010, and announced the opening of a global Research and Development (R&D) Laboratory  in Melbourne in 2010.

These new investments are being made to bring IBM thought leadership, intellectual property, and global resources “closer to the coal face”.

It is important for the Australian resources industry to have a centre that offers state-of-the-art facilities where petroleum and mining companies can fast track the development of innovative technologies and new business strategies.

Central to the NRSC mission is the formation of ideas – business leaders from the resources sector are able to explore specific business problems by workshopping ideas and rapidly developing pilot projects.

The Perth NRSC is the first IBM Solution Centre in the world designed to focus specifically on creating solutions for the mining industry, with an additional focus on LNG and Carbon Management.

The mining and petroleum industries face similar challenges and opportunities around Major Capital Project execution and the establishment of joint ventures.

IBM saw the strong, common need in the resources sector for solutions to these issues, especially for improving risk management, asset management and enterprise integration.

The Australian resources community faces traditional problems –including operational inefficiencies, health and safety concerns, and regulatory compliance.

The NRSC will help clients address these problems through smarter solution approaches such as “integrated operations” and “asset lifecycle management”.

IBM has positioned a core team of senior subject-matter advisors at the NRSC to collaborate with clients across the Asia Pacific region, to be a catalyst in problem solving for our clients.

As with all IBM Centres of Excellence, the NRSC is a practical, industry-focused facility and team that fosters collaboration between experts, local and global clients, academic and government institutions, and strategic business partners to create ground-breaking solutions.

The NRSC supports the development of first-of-a-kind programs and the testing of new business solutions, as well as offering client briefings and the use of our laboratories and IT infrastructure for research and development work.

The team conducts executive and architecture workshops, proof-of-concept/prototype development with clients, and solution demonstrations.  

Australia is already a world player when it comes to investment scale in the mining and petroleum industries, and we are setting new standards in these industries for asset efficiency, yield, and safety.

The establishment of the NRSC and the IBM R&D Lab in Melbourne will enhance Australia’s reputation as a research and development hub for the resources sector, with investment, commitment and world-class expertise focused on national and global resources issues.

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