Decision Analysis in the Energy Sector – Event Summary

We had some great speakers and open discussion at the recent OR Society DASIG event on ‘Decision Analysis in the Energy Sector’, held at the Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) on the 13th July. I will want to pick up on some of the points raised in future blog posts, but for now here is a brief summary of the speakers and what they covered.

Jian Bo Yang is Professor of Decision and System Sciences and Director of the Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre at AMBS. He spoke about multiple criteria decision analysis under uncertainty, as applied in the field of Nuclear Waste Depository option analysis. He described methods for handling subjective opinions, uncertainty, and (last but not least I suspect) ignorance.

Peter Wood has been with Shell for 15 years, and is currently working as an ‘Opportunity Delivery Coach’. Peter introduced recently published guidance on how to achieve Decision Quality for oil & gas projects, aimed specifically at multicompany projects (joint ventures and so on) where the decision making process has to deal with that extra layer of complexity. He highlighted the ‘Decision Maker’s Bill of Rights’ which I think is worth a separate blog post.

Dylan Jones is Professor of Operational Research based in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Portsmouth. His topic was ‘Decision analysis in the renewable energy sector – applying OR to marine renewable planning’. Dylan gave a number of examples applying OR to Decision Analysis in Offshore Wind, with applications including where to locate the offshore wind-farms, and building consensus amongst multiple stakeholders in the strategic development of the wind-farm sector.

Pete Naylor is Head of Decision Risk Analysis in BG Group. He described a case study of ‘Decision Risk Analysis’, where the objective was to optimise an oil & gas development. There were two very distinct options, and the joint venture partners had opposing views on the relative risks involved. The approach dealt with the ‘unknown unknowns’ of one option, and was able to demonstrate a ‘clear winner’ and quantify under what conditions a different choice should be made, leading to consensus between the partners.

Pete Miles is – well, me! I spoke about how Catalyze has applied Decision Analysis principles in helping to develop new guidelines for comparative assessments in oil & gas decommissioning.

All of these presentations are now available on the OR Society website at