Integration by Infrastructuring: The Case of Subsea Environmental Monitoring in Oil and Gas Offshore Operations
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This thesis investigates the development of ICT solutions for performing real-time subsea environmental monitoring during oil and gas offshore operations. The research is based on a three-year case study of an international oil and gas company headquartered in Norway. The thesis is specifically focused on aspects of integration: how new tools, systems, and approaches are developed, and how existing ones are adapted to fit the existing systems and practices of the oil and gas company. The thesis has three goals. First, it analyzes how real-time environmental monitoring emerges as a distributed, interacting, and interconnected sociotechnical network (information infrastructure). Second, it identifies how the company’s initiatives are currently changing the representations of subsea environmental risk in remote and previously inaccessible areas like the Arctic region. Third, it reflects on the research methodology to address such a spatially distributed and long-term setting. On the theoretical level this work aims to contribute to the field of Information Systems and, marginally, to Computer-supported cooperative work. It is also inspired by Science and Technology Studies. A theoretical framework is developed connecting contributions from these three streams of literature in order to characterize the co-evolution of environmental monitoring infrastructures and their phenomenon of interest, environmental risk. This evolving relationship shows that, on the one hand, the perception of environmental risk as a problem is affected by the integration mechanisms that generate new knowledge. On the other hand, new conceptions of environmental risk have consequences for the maintenance and upgrade of environmental monitoring infrastructures. I call this process infrastructuring. The thesis provides a vivid empirical illustration of how the relationship between environmental risk and integration strategies unfolds in offshore environmental monitoring. By merging the theoretical framework and the empirical case, I argue in favor of a flexible understanding of the development of complex systems in organizational settings. Studies of infrastructure should account for the existence of pragmatic approaches to face persistent uncertainty and the fluid relationship between situated usefulness and a cross-geographical dimension. In line with existing debates in the literature, I demonstrate that the traditionally bounded distinctions of system design/development/implementation and of users/designers must be overtaken when studying infrastructures. On the methodological level, this thesis therefore advocates a deeper empirical analysis of the unfolding of infrastructures in organizational realities.
Has partsPaper 1: Parmiggiani, Elena and HepsÃ¸, Vidar, "Pragmatic Information Management For Environmental Monitoring In Oil And Gas" (2013). ECIS 2013 Completed Research. Paper 65. http:// aisel.aisnet.org/ecis2013_cr/65
Paper 2: Parmiggiani, Elena; Mikalsen, Marius. The Facets of Sociomateriality: A Systematic Mapping of Emerging Concepts and Definitions. I: Nordic Contributions in IS Research : 4th Scandinavian Conference on Information Systems, SCIS 2013, Proceedings. Springer 2013 s. 87-103. Is not available due to copyright available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-39832-2_6
Paper 3: Mikalsen, Marius; Parmiggiani, Elena; Hepsø, Vidar. Sociomaterial capabilities in integrated oil and gas operations - Implications for design. I: Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2014, Paper 3 http://aisel.aisnet.org/ecis2014/proceedings/track20/3/
Paper 4: Parmiggiani, Elena; Monteiro, Eric; Hepsø, Vidar. The Digital Coral: Infrastructuring Environmental Monitoring. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 2015 s. 1-38 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10606-015-9233-6
Paper 5: Parmiggiani, Elena; Monteiro, Eric. The nested materiality of environmental monitoring. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 2015 ;Volum 27.(1) s. 33-54 http://aisel.aisnet.org/sjis/vol27/iss1/2/
Paper 6: Parmiggiani, Elena; Monteiro, Eric. A measure of ‘environmental happiness’: Infrastructuring environmental risk in oil and gas offshore operations. Science & Technology Studies 2015
Paper 7: Parmiggiani, Elena; Monteiro, Eric (2015). Environmental Sustainability: Implications for Green IS.