Technology and innovation in the oil and gas industry have helped it recover from a downturn. Engineers have found ways to automate tasks and overcome sub-surface challenges using the latest technology.
Moreover, the gradual adoption of modern technology has reduced manual labor and made the industry safer and more efficient.
Oil and gas industry trends show growth and stabilization since the worst downturn that hit it in 2014. It has grown by 12.3% between 2017 and 2022. The explosion in the development of technology has primarily contributed to this improvement.
Let us look at some of the emerging technologies that are taking the oil and gas industry by storm.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the latest gift of technology to the world. AI has transformed many industries in recent years, and the oil and gas industry is no exception.
It features machines observing and learning from past trends and doing human work. Since it supports data-driven decision-making, AI is used to implement new exploration and production ideas. It can also help in:
- Surveying facilities
- Monitoring machines
- Forecasting and improving safety.
- Studying old data to predict the stability of new sites
AI is a core part of technology and innovation in the oil and gas industry as it propels automation.
2. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing uses online services for storing data and performing IT operations.
The oil and gas industry generates a large amount of data every day. Storing all that data in a cloud saves precious local memory and computational capacity.
Cloud Computing helps overcome many technical challenges in the oil and gas industry. Cloud-native tools create a functional IT environment online, and we no longer have to invest in hardware or space.
Cloud computing also provides the benefit of advanced analytics, visual boards, and remote access to real-time insights.
3. 3D Modeling and Visualization
3D modeling overcomes engineering challenges by simulating structures and assessing safety. It reduces testing costs while being accurate.
Drone technology is used to map reservoirs and the land surrounding them. These are time efficient as multiple facilities can be inspected within hours. The aerial view offered by them is also more convenient for spotting issues.
Source: GEO ExPro
The drone technology proves especially useful for off-shore facilities. Inspecting those from the ground can be tedious, costly, and inefficient. Hence, using drones can be convenient.
It is safe to say that technology and innovation in the oil and gas industry are not used for engineering purposes only. Drones can also be used to map rock outcrops which can serve as a visual aid during training. The simulations created using 3D modeling can be used as teaching tools while training recruits.
The drone images are also be used to understand sediment structure, permeability, and porosity. Hence, infrastructure planning is based on the information obtained from these images.
4. Big Data and Analytics
The oil and gas industries generate large volumes of data every day. Using analytics, data scientists can find trends and patterns in the data. These analytics are used to assess performance and optimize production.
Big Data also reduces operational costs and manages the industry’s carbon emissions. Data from seismic surveys and oil drilling is also used to improve decision-making.
Companies can use the results of big data to:
- Make more data-driven decisions
- Innovate other technology that they can use
- Make improvements to safety procedures
- Improve work efficiency
Big Data is also used to evaluate the functioning of new sensors or algorithms. Hence, it plays a massive role in overcoming technology challenges in oil and gas industry.
5. Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT refers to the internet connectivity between electronic components. It plays a huge role in making sensors and other small gadgets. These are used to detect errors and detect technology challenges in oil and gas industry. Hence, they are applied to places where we want operations independent of human presence.
Technology and innovation in the oil and gas industry have adopted IoT as it has several advantages:
- Helping employees keep track of the longevity of equipment and other elements affecting production.
- Removing the need for a physical presence on dangerous off-shore sites provides insight into real-time data.
- It can be combined with AI and Big Data to automate tasks that show the importance of technology in oil and gas industry.
- Detection of equipment breakdown in early stages.
Blockchain is used to design smart contracts that lend more transparency to them. It is used to give oil and gas-related documents some much-needed security.
It allows the industry to automate:
- Post trade settlements
- Joint venture accounting
It can also play a significant role in hydrocarbon fleet tracking, trading, retail B2C/B2B, and intra-group billing.
7. Augmented and Virtual Reality
Technology and innovation in the oil and gas industry use immersive technology like AR and VR to simulate real-life scenarios. AR-based solutions boost efficiency and reduce errors by displaying real-time information regarding equipment, tools, and parts.
AR/VR technology is used in:
- Remote monitoring
- Virtual training
- Down hole imaging
Immersive technology also acts as the bridge helping humans interact with machines via smartphone alerts.
8. Predictive Maintenance
The predictive maintenance process uses sensors present in the field alongside AI algorithms. These help engineers in assessing equipment quality and status quicker. Thus, the employees can perform maintenance-related tasks more efficiently.
Moreover, predictive maintenance can be applied to all parts of the operation. It can help by:
- Improving safety
- Extending the life of installations
- Reducing costs of operations and maintenance
Importance of Technology in Oil and Gas Industry
Quite evidently, the oil and gas industry has moved into the era of digitization. It has also enjoyed many of its benefits.
The importance of technology in oil and gas industry cannot be denied. From increased efficiency to cost savings, it has grown abundantly. Companies shying away from technology have little chance of survival.
Oil and gas industry trends show an increase in automation all over the industry. While automation was mainly developed because on-site work spaces can be dangerous, the global situation truly pushed its scope. Companies were forced to rethink what work spaces would look like.
Being able to control and monitor sites from remote locations proved especially useful. Adopting IoT and machine learning benefits companies extensively as they continue business through hard times.
However, as the industry becomes increasingly dependent on technology, it is crucial to remember the importance of human interference. As accurate as it may promise to be, technology does fail.
Besides, technology challenges in oil and gas industry can lead to entire processes being disrupted. Thus, the more reliant we are on it, the greater the consequences of failure.
Thus, it is important to keep questioning the analysis given to us by the technology. Developing contingency plans and being prepared for technological failure is also essential.