Whilst the Oil & Gas Industry has been traditionally slow to take up new technologies, there are signs that this is changing. Speaking earlier this year, director of BP’s exploration and production business, Bernard Looney, acknowledged a shift in attitude. Describing digitisation as a ‘game changer’, Looney declared that oil and gas companies are now “making up for lost time – fast”.
With applications for securing and analysing data, the remote monitoring of assets and flare gas measurement entering the marketplace – oil and gas companies are finally realising the potential in innovation.
Investing in innovation
Oil and gas sites can be dangerous and hostile environments to work in. A leak or breakdown of equipment could not only cause a costly break in production, but lead to loss of life. The need to properly assess gas flow and develop effective monitoring for operational efficiency and health and safety, creates a void that only technology can fill.
A recent deal from BP displays the efforts of major multinational oil corporations to invest in innovation. The UK group has invested in Californian start up Beyond Limits, a company focused on adapting big data and AI technology used by NASA for oil and gas exploration. It is expected that the technology will not only improve BP’s efficiency when looking for new oil and gas resources, but it will enable workers to operate remotely. Personnel have the opportunity to work in safer environments and oil and gas operators will cut costs of on-site staff.
A digital future
Oil and gas companies must evolve and innovate to survive. They cannot rely on past practices and approaches to secure future business. In a new environment of “lower for longer” with respect to oil prices, the Oil & Gas Industry need to maximise efficiencies.
After faulty equipment caused the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010, increased automation and software innovation has been a focus for oil and gas companies. Through the introduction of new technologies, oil and gas companies are better positioned to improve maintenance procedures, monitor assets, analyse big data and develop more robust cybersecurity techniques. While new software is also being used to refine existing infrastructure and improve the safety and reliability of operations.