Top digital and technology trends in the oil & gas sector

15 May 2019 3 min. read
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As rapid changes unfold in the global oil sector, a growing number of companies operating in the sector are turning to cloud computing and other Industry 4.0 technologies to help drive growth and streamline operations in their organisations, according to Rabinarayan Mishra, a Senior Manager in Accenture India’s Data & Analytics practice.

Mishra is a former Data & Reporting Offshore Programme Manager at international oil company Shell, and has leveraged his experience in the oil sector to offer an overview of the industry’s current status. According to Mishra, developments in the global oil sector can be attributed to three primary causes.

The first of these is the constantly fluctuating price levels, brought about by transitions in the geopolitical control points across the oil supply chain. The second cause is one that is affecting most sectors, although perhaps none more directly than the natural resources industry: Environmental considerations.

As Paris Agreement deadlines draw nearer, oil companies across the globe are being pushed towards more clean energy practices, and are therefore developing their capacity in the renewable energy and natural gas domains. Lastly, turbulence in the sector appears to have bred a collaborative spirit in the sector, as an increasing number of companies look for partnerships in the domain of logistics and trade.Top digital and technology trends in the oil & gas sector

In such a transforming scenario, Mishra has observed a tendency to invest in digital capabilities to remain competitive and drive long-term growth. While sweeping digital integrations are being conducted, Mishra has identified certain technologies that have come into more favour than others. 

One example is cloud technology. “Most upstream oil and gas companies are now moving to cloud-based platforms where they can host their business applications related to areas like sub-surface, land and production systems. Any new workload and innovation projects are mostly being taken up in the cloud, where IT is enabling infrastructure management, data interfacing with on-premise legacy systems and security management,” says Mishra.

The oil sector is characterised by long-term assets, which makes Asset Performance Management capabilities another major area of investment. “As companies’ approach to asset management comes to focus increasingly on risk and reliability, long-term programs and initiatives are being launched to source, ingest, manage and interpret asset operational data and performance KPIs in real time,” he says.

Internet of Things (IoT) will also draw substantial investment, given the key role of sensors in oil plants, while data analytics is expected to provide context for operational obstacles. “Today, business analytics and AI systems are scaling rapidly, with increasing availability of historical labeled data for model training and testing. Within a few years, assets will be deployed with self-diagnosing and healing capabilities,” Mishra concludes.