Oil, gas in digital revolution

THE world is on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution, with digital technologies set to transform the way in which oil and gas companies run their businesses, Deloitte says.
Oil, gas in digital revolution Oil, gas in digital revolution Oil, gas in digital revolution Oil, gas in digital revolution Oil, gas in digital revolution

David Alonso

Staff Reporter

"With Australia remaining at the top end of the global cost curve and the need to be globally competitive in oil, gas and LNG, we are seeing companies embarking on a journey to develop into insight-driven organisations by leveraging data," Deloitte's David Alonso said.
For the oil and gas sector, the use of big data, predictive analytics, cognitive services and artificial intelligence solutions can solve complex business problems and improve operational excellence, safety, reduce costs and increase volumes of production.
"As an example, we successfully used predictive analytics to decrease asset interruptions by 80% within three months for a global client, translating into substantial costs savings," Alonso said.
At present, the biggest use of digital technologies in the energy sector is in sensors, data collection and analytics, but Bloomberg New Energy Finance is predicting shifts in the use of digital technologies in energy up to 2025.
Digital technologies for fossil fuel operation and maintenance are big business today, but activity is also shifting towards services for distributed renewables and the connected home.
New energy innovations will be centred on digital technologies and the strategic use of data, according to new research.
A shift is coming in the energy industry from a focus on hardware to the increased importance of software in order to make systems more efficient, resilient, and digital, BNEF believes. 
There is much work to do to prepare for a digital world and the risks and opportunities it provides oil and gas companies, and many are still unprepared.
In its recent Digital Change Survey conducted across 16 countries, global enterprise applications company IFS found that the oil patch sector lags other industries in terms of digital maturity and is hamstrung by major skills gaps. 
"Oil and gas firms are currently behind the curve in harnessing the power of data … its use is often handicapped because it typically sits with a group of engineers in a specific area, rather than being enterprise-wide," IFS global industry director Colin Beaney said.
Last year, Woodside Petroleum highlighted the growing need for engineers with IT skills and IT specialists who understand engineering as its looks ahead to a digital future.
Many companies believe technologies such as big data and analytics, the Internet of Things and enterprise resource planning software can help drive crucial operational efficiencies to accelerate digital transformation and business success.
But the sector is still in the early phase of digital transformation with just 19% of the oil and gas firms surveyed by IFS seeing themselves as advanced in leveraging digital transformation, far behind aviation, construction & contracting, manufacturing, and service industry respondents.
The IFS survey also found that 33% of oilers rate themselves as still in the early ‘nascent' or ‘exploratory' stages of their digital transformation programs.