Digitalisation is changing our lives
“It allows me to be more creative,” says Trine Svalestad
Self-driving cars, robots and more accessible technology. Digitalisation is no longer a thing of the “future.” Many of your work tasks will probably be automated and taken over by robots. Is that a good or a bad thing? We had a chat with head of digitalisation on the Johan Sverdrup field, Trine Svalestad, and digitalisation director, Torbjørn Folgerø.
Originally published by Brand Studio.
Striking a balance in the global energy mix is important. Emissions must be curbed while demand for energy is increasing. In this article, we will look at how we are approaching these issues as the company transitions from being an oil and gas company to a broad energy major.
It’s early morning, and we meet up with Trine Svalestad outside the Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger, in a graffiti-adorned playground inspired by old oil platforms.
Although she has a law degree, she’s currently working as head of the project to digitalise the Johan Sverdrup development, one of the largest oil discoveries ever made on the Norwegian shelf. We want to discuss how she thinks digitalisation will affect our lives and work.
TWIN: Trine Svalestad is heading the effort to digitalise the Johan Sverdrup development. The digital twin allows the team to stay in control of what is happening.
Photo: VG PARTNERSTUDIO
At Sandsli in Bergen, about 200 km further up the coast, we find what Equinor calls the “Digital Centre of Excellence”. Here we meet Torbjørn F. Folgerø, head of the centre.
“The primary objective of this centre of excellence is to drive the development of our digital solutions, in a way that is both innovative and includes all disciplines. The hope is that this will make Equinor better equipped to move forward as a broad energy company.”
“It’s not just technology — it’s how we work. We need to understand how we can work more efficiently and make better decisions based on digital solutions”
Torbjørn F. Folgerø, Head of Digital Centre of Excellence
But won’t digitalisation mean that many people will be replaced by machines, and lose their jobs?
“Digitalisation will change the way we work, and it will affect work tasks and effectiveness. The digital future will enable us to work smarter and more efficiently, as well as making it possible for us to ensure a safe workplace for our employees. It will open new opportunities. The way I see it, automation of processes will lead to more time for people to delve into the more challenging parts of the job. It is this combination of people and technology that will be our great advantage in the years to come.”
- Head of the Digital Centre of Excellence
- M.Sc. in Industrial Economics from NTNU, MBA from ESADE Business School and Duke University
- Has worked in Equinor for nine years
Equinor is a big company. And big companies often struggle with change. What are the greatest threats to the success of your digital commitment?
“We have to stay curious and be open to new ideas outside the company. While we are recognised as a technology leader among energy companies, we must be humble and see the value that lies in learning from and cooperating with other players – both within and outside our own industry.”
According to Folgerø, digitalisation isn’t just about new technologies.
“This is just as much an issue of the way we work. We have to ask ourselves how we can work more efficiently and how we can make better decisions by using digital solutions.
“We must apply a different approach to digital projects, in contrast to traditional oil and gas projects. We must experiment and test, dare to fail and learn from our mistakes. We are looking at how an oil and gas company can adopt parts of the work methods used by companies engaged in software development.”