In the coming years the Oil & Gas sector will be confronted with a large spectrum of megatrends, ranging from new legislation, stiff competition, changes in the market landscape, continue push for increased sustainability and the pressure to embrace new technologies.
In its latest ‘Ascent’ research series called ‘Look out – Trends 2014+’, advisory firm Atos presents an overview of the key technologies and solutions that energy producers sector will be facing over the next years. The 18 identified trends are plotted against the business impact and spread over time:
According to the advisors, six new technologies can be dubbed as ‘transformational’, implying that they will radically change business models and the way the operational management is run. These mega-IT trends are: Cloud Messaging, Security and operational risk management, Big Data, Mobile Payments, Smart Grids and Smart Oil & Gas fields.
With the rise of cloud computing and new mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, oil and gas firms face an increasing challenge in safely connecting devices within the ICT ‘ecosystem’. Cloud Messaging is the name given to the technology that supports this two-way communication. Atos expects that the impact of Cloud Messaging will be massive, in a few years of time serving as the hub in the communication infrastructure, connecting the, Smart Mobility, social media and the Internet of Things with employees.
Security and operational risk management
The oil and gas industry has had a number of extremely serious crises and disasters over last three years. These vary from advanced malicious virus attacks (such as Shamoon in 2012) to calamities such as the explosion of the BP Macondo platform in Gulf of Mexico in 2010. As the impact of such disasters can bring even the world’s largest enterprises to the brink of bankruptcy, oil and gas companies are transforming their operational management to prevent such crises.
The role of technology in this transition will be massive, according to Atos. In particular identity management based on biometrics and cryptography will according to the advisory firm play a crucial role.
The large-scale digitalization of information of for instance the oil and gas fields, gas networks, production sites and supply chains has generated massive amounts of data. This data provides a massive potential for generating intelligence, which subsequently can be fed into business decisions including sales, marketing, customer services and delivery. “However, before this potential is unlocked, oil and gas firms need to work on huge IT infrastructure challenges. Also employees have to be educated in order to deal with such large amounts of data”, consultants write.
The massive adoption of smartphones is changing the technology landscape and creating new business opportunities that are supported by the ability to take and make payments anywhere, anytime. “We foresee a future scenario where money is solely managed in a virtual and mobile environment” according to Atos. Oil and gas firms need to anticipate on this megatrend.
The opportunities provided by smart mobile solutions can be extended into nearly all disciplines of operations. From a sales point of view, mobile services can be designed to build loyalty with customers or generate additional sales potential. From an employee viewpoint, smart mobility can use information about a person on location or behavior to boost safety or employee satisfaction. “The possibilities are endless, the key challenge will be how oil & gas firms will be able to pick the jewels from the mountain” according to Atos.
Smart Oil & Gas fields
Over the past years most major oil and gas companies introduced Smart Oil and Gas Fields to increase production efficiency. Smart field are able to link all aspects of down-hole and up-hole operations at sites with offices in order to drive decision-making and efficiency. Yet there still are large improvement opportunities in this area, Atos says. “By interpreting real-time production data from all wells, the field production can be optimized even on an hour-to-hour basis”. Also the combination of Smart Oil and Gas Fields and analysis of real-time Big Data could improve efficiency even further.