LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

Adopting Modern technology in the Oil and Gas Sector

INTRODUCTION
No one can deny that digital technologies are the future. Looking ahead, we can expect to see many companies turn to open standards to help them improve operational efficiency and grapple with digital complexity. Organisations within the oil and gas sector are working harmoniously with their peers to create open systems that will ensure digital transformation initiatives which can be done at a low cost and with very little disruption. Digital technology will unlock significant cost savings and efficiency for the wider process automation industry.
 

Industries are embracing technology to reshape their operating landscape and reap the benefits of improved productivity, higher efficiency, and increased cost savings. The oil and gas industry is not a stranger to this and is progressing towards digital maturity. Oil and Gas industries are also adopting new technology at faster paces which can drive bigger business value. Aspiring energy lawyers should view this as a massive opportunity.
 

Over the past years,big oil companies in the upstream and downstream segments have started to adopt a growing number of digital solutions to seek cost cuts through innovation and new technologies. Many oil and gas firms, especially the world’s biggest, are already using data analytics, cloud computing, digital oil fields, digital twins, robotics, automation, predictive maintenance, machine learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Technology consultancy firms say that the number of companies using advanced digital solutions for their businesses will only grow in the future.
 

Emerging technologies, including cloud computing, AI, and robotics can be easily implemented and impactful almost immediately. Although the oil and gas sector was slower than others to come on board with digitalization, now digital disruption and transformation has become the front and center of every oil industry conference anywhere in the world. And now oil and gas firms have started to form partnerships with oilfield service providers and Big Tech to work to digitally transform operations.
Recently, U.S. oil and gas supermajor Chevron teamed up with the world’s biggest oilfield services firm, Schlumberger, and with tech giant Microsoft to accelerate the creation of innovative Petro technical and digital technologies.
 

How Technology Is Saving the Oil and Gas Industry
From robotics to artificial intelligence, organizations across verticals recognize that in order to stay relevant among consumers, they have to change with the times. So why are oil and gas companies still lagging behind? Luckily, there’s still time for companies within these fields to revamp their operations and propel themselves to the modern-day playing field. Like many other industries, the oil and gas industry is undergoing a rapid digital transformation. In today’s Energy industry, the speed of adoption is “Innovate or die” Oil and gas companies need to innovate to stay competitive and keep the fuel flowing
 

The Opportunity: Digital Transformation
The oil and gas industry, combined, are multi-billion dollar industries; big oil is big money and the time is now to bring the industry into the digital age.
 
The following are top technologies that have been adopted into the oil and gas industry.
 

1. Robotics: The industry was slow to adopt the use of robotics before 2014, but now companies climbing out of the collapse are implementing them. Robotics replaces the dangerous and repetitive tasks of connecting drill pipes on oil rigs. ”I must say that while technologies like these do add value to the companies, there is potential for workers to lose their jobs, which is a recurring fear that many have when it comes to robots.”Chris Blackford, the founder of Sky-Futures, a drone company for the oil and gas industry, explained that “the inspection data we can collect in five days takes rope-access technicians about eight weeks. “To survive the current era of cheap oil, we will see the adoption of AI, automation, and IoT. The oil and gas sector must capitalize on such business intelligence, otherwise, they will undoubtedly be left behind in a worldwide digital revolution,”
 

2. Cloud Computing: As the oil and gas undergo this enormous transformation to a digital infrastructure, cloud computing will prove to be a powerful engine. The sheer amount of data companies can harness and further analyze through automation, will reduce operational expenses, down well times, and lessen risk. As more oil and gas companies integrate cloud computing, this will empower field workers to optimize production. By leveraging cloud computing capabilities, accuracy and transparency are achieved in the shortest amount of time to drastically improve well-cost management.
In summary, distributed ledger technology, AI, extended reality, and quantum computing have the potential to transform the energy industry, according to the firm.  
 

IMPORTANCE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY.
Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella noted that “There is an enormous opportunity to bring the latest cloud and AI technology to the energy sector and accelerate the industry’s digital transformation.”  This will help companies to process, visualize, interpret, and obtain insights from many data sources.
 

Technology is helping revive and transform legacy industries by creating efficiencies where needed. Adopting technological advancements have the potential to turn things around. AI allows companies to uncover trends that pinpoint and predict inefficiencies making every arm of the company more efficient and profitable.
Technology will dramatically accelerate the speed with which we can analyze data to generate new exploration opportunities and bring prospects to development more quickly and with more certainty,” said Joseph C. Geagea, executive vice president, technology, projects and services for Chevron. It will pull vast quantities of information into a single source amplifying our use of artificial intelligence and high-performance computing built on an open data ecosystem.
 

Technology will accelerate faster innovation with better results, marking the beginning of a new era in the industry that will enable elevated performance across the industry’s value chain. Microsoft, as well as many other tech giants including Amazon, Google, and ABB Group, is already selling digital solutions to the biggest oil and gas companies in the world. Chevron and Exxon have teamed up with Big Tech to unlock opportunities and efficiencies in their key growth priority. ‘Digital’ is already a fundamental part of the business for energy companies.
 

According to an Accenture survey, 97 percent of upstream and 91 percent of downstream executives report that emerging technologies have sped up the pace of innovation in their organizations over the past three years. A total of 80 percent of upstream and 90 percent of downstream executives are currently experimenting with one or more of these four technologies. In addition, 76 percent of upstream firms and 80 percent of downstream companies agree that the combination of all four technologies will bring extensive changes to their business, higher than the global average of 69 percent. Unsurprisingly, AI is the top cited technology of these four as the one capable of creating the greatest impact on energy firms over the next three years. “The next challenge is to develop the next generation of technologies to become really differentiated and stay ahead of the competition,”  In sum, to stay ahead, innovate ahead.
 

 
N:B The materials provided are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to provide tax, legal, or investment advice. Nothing contained here shall be considered a recommendation, solicitation, or offer to buy or sell to any person in any jurisdiction.
 
Culled from the internet.
 
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR  
Victoria Osuagwu is a law student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, a legal researcher and author.
 
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For knowledge and Justice

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