As we enter 2019, oil and gas companies worldwide are facing widespread change. One aspect is significant price volatility, as shifting geopolitical dynamics see the supply-and-demand equations diverge in various geographies with, for example, US production rates at an all-time high and pressure on Opec countries to cut back.
Another is the need to comply with increasing environmental regulation designed to support de-carbonization, pushing the industry’s growth imperative towards expanding the natural gas and renewable energy businesses.
Meanwhile, a further escalating trend is for oil and gas companies to create partnerships and collaborative arrangements, often aimed at capitalizing on emerging opportunities in areas like supply chain integration, logistics, trading and payments.
As they navigate through this fast-evolving environment, oil and gas companies are continuing their digital transformation journeys with a view to drive growth, productivity, efficiency and safety across their operations, while also maintaining their efforts to explore and forge new business models.
Against this background, four key technology trends are playing a big role in shaping companies’ strategies for delivering growth amid today’s pervasive change.
1. The Rise of the “Cloud-First” Strategy: 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.
With the business expecting ever greater control and self-service to be provided by applications using analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), the trend is towards 100 percent cloudification of all new applications within a couple of years.
2. Operationalizing Digital Representations of Physical Assets: Asset performance management (APM) and “digital twin” initiatives are set to converge, driving the development of innovative new solutions for managing critical assets across upstream and downstream operations. 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.