When it comes to embracing new technology, the oil and gas sector has excelled in certain areas and lagged behind in others. Finding new and innovative ways to extract and make the most of resources is at the heart of the energy industry. But when we look at the back office functions, it’s clear this same level of innovation isn’t present.
Traditionally, the technology for industrial markets has been built with a focus on data entry. This means a lot of the software solutions are just thin UI (user interface) on top of a database. As a result, these applications often feel archaic and clunky—and even worse, many are slow, bloated, and convoluted. Implementing something that isn’t going to work great for your company sounds like a waste of time, money, and energy.
But recently, there has been a shift in the technology available to the back office of O&G. This new wave of software focuses on ease-of-use and functionality, so you can actually offload tedious tasks and focus on the parts of your job that really matter. Solutions that are revolutionizing the industry use data to curate experiences, drive insights, and automate processes like never before.
So let's look into what types of technology are revolutionizing the oil and gas industry.
Technology Revolutionizing the Oil & Gas Sector
A 'digital twin' is an incredibly accurate digital model of a real, physical object. Digital twins can be just a digital representation of a physical object, or it can be an incredibly complex model that shows how a system is functioning in real-time through thousands of sensors.
While a regular model of an object can be helpful, a digital twin can give an accurate representation of the object or system in real-time. This level of visibility has previously been unattainable and can bring incredible value.
The oil and gas industry can use digital twin technology to:
- Prevent and prepare for problems
- Test concepts and trade-offs
- Understand where assets or job sites are located and what stage they are at
- Create a better decision process by running what-if scenarios
- And so much more
Beyond digital twin technology, other improvements into visibility are having similar effects, such as improvements in seismic imaging, 3D models, and virtual reality.
Data Collection & Analysis Technology
Technology to improve data collection and data analysis is part of the tech that is changing the O&G landscape. Collecting insights for both individual wells and across the company as a whole means a better understanding of operations and what is happening at individual wells.
For example, an individual machine or individual well information can predict maintenance or coming problems in production. On the other hand, by having information across the entire company you can perform analysis, make future predictions, and optimize operations.
Previously this data was just not available or wasn’t available in real-time. Now with these advances, better decisions can be made and problems can be solved faster.
Making advancements in technology that improves getting resources out of the ground is not new to the world of O&G, but there is an extreme lack of technology that we’ll call 'back-office tech'. This technology isn’t directly related to operations such as sensors or well capabilities. Instead, this technology helps automate and offload the tedious tasks that the office takes care of, such as site management, quote management, equipment tracking, invoicing, and so much more.
While this technology isn't directly connected to oil and gas production, they are incredibly valuable by cutting costs, creating accountability, and improving the efficiency of everyday tasks your team does.
Why Implement Technology Now?
Volatile markets and circumstances are a normal part of oil and gas. And technology can make every part of the oil and gas process more efficient. So, the implementation of tech in the world of O&G means more profit when the market is good and lower costs when there is a downturn. Simple as that.
That being said, it is important to prioritize the right technology in the right places. Whether that is putting the tech updates on the best-producing wells, solving the tedious processes that bog down your team, or identifying what will bring the most value to your organization, adding technology in the right places will help your company see the most value.
Overall, taking the right steps with the implementation of technology will put you in the best position to stay competitive in volatile markets and improve operations as a whole.