Like many other industries, the oil and gas sector is looking to adopt digital technology to help improve efficiency and productivity, especially as digitisation is a key development that will contribute to the world moving towards net zero. In the UK, it is believed that in meeting net zero by 2050, the country may still use a quarter of the gas that it uses now, so utilising digital technology and ensuring optimal production efficiency remains highly relevant.
Increasing safety and efficiency with innovative technology
A key reason for firms wanting to increase their efficiency, is to solidify their levels of stability in an unpredictable market. In fact, so many businesses are investing in oil and gas automation technology that Frost & Sullivan forecast the market to be worth $24.6 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.5%. This includes the implementation of big data analytics, which has played a large role in driving industry growth in recent times.
New technology has allowed the oil and gas industry to become more data-driven and streamlined. Big data can help oil and gas companies gather real-time information, which can then be used to grasp new opportunities and ensure accuracy when searching for new hydrocarbon deposits. It can also be used to optimise exploration, drilling, and production by forecasting potential equipment failures and breakdowns – which will improve overall efficiency of whole projects.
With the oil and gas industry featuring large, complex, and often dangerous operations, having the technology to navigate volatile working environments is key, especially in downstream projects. Some oil and gas facilities are in confined or hard-to-reach spaces, so robotic inspection devices minimise the risk to personnel.
Robotic devices are proven to be effective in isolated areas, as well. In 2020, TotalEnergies deployed a surveillance robot at its gas plant in the Shetland Islands to accurately assess their robustness, endurance, and reliability in a difficult operating environment. These robots would “undertake rounds autonomously, detect anomalies, alert operators, monitor process parameters and generate 3D maps”.
For dangerous jobs relating to midstream processes and gas leaks, future technologies such as drones are also being developed for surveillance and detection purposes, to both minimise human interaction with dangerous substances and help mitigate emissions.
High profile collaborations
Cross-industry collaborations between oil and gas and digital solutions companies is more prevalent than ever, with oil and gas companies investing more in key growth technologies such as cloud and AI. The Internet of Things (IoT) vendors are now competing for top oil and gas contracts by offering end-to-end solutions. For oil and gas businesses, a collaborative approach with external suppliers is seen as a more effective solution than in house development of advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Several high-profile partnerships have been made in the last couple of years, including Total Oil and Google Cloud, BP, and Azure, and Seeq and Saudi Aramco. A partnership between Malaysia’s Petronas and Waygate Technologies Robotics (WTR) has produced a robotic inspection device for the oil and gas industry that could be commercialised, and the technology in this project features a cleaning tool and additional ultrasonic and eddy inspection capabilities.
How can Petroplan help you get involved with the digital transformation of the oil and gas industry?
We are the champions of talent, and constantly stay up to date with the latest trends and changes in the oil and gas industry, and in this case, how digital technology is affecting the market. We have over 40 years’ experience in recruiting the best professionals into the energy sector, and we would have never achieved this without our agile approach and constantly adapting to change.
With the oil and gas industry changing, and digital transformation driving the emergence of new roles and specialisms, we are on hand to find opportunities for skilled professionals who can make a real impact. Find out more about us and, if you’re interested in learning more about digital transformations in the industry, please contact us to find out how we can help you.