Big Data investments to rise to optimise efficiency in oil and gas industry

Big data-accentureDespite current lower crude oil prices, most companies in oil and gas industry across the globe plan to increase investments in digital technologies, according to new survey by Accenture and Microsoft

Released at the Microsoft Global Energy Forum 2015, survey respondents included international oil companies (IOCs), national oil companies (NOCs), independents and oil field services firms.

According to the report Oil and Gas Digital and Technology Trends Survey 2015, in the near term during the current low crude price cycle, approximately three out of five respondents said that they plan to invest around 32 per cent or more, which significantly exceeds 25 per cent at present, in Big Bata and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and automation.

Over the next three to five years, approximately 80 per cent of the oil and gas industry professionals, including IOCs and NOCs surveyed added that they plan to invest 18 per cent than the current 44 per cent in digital forum.

Mobility, infrastructure and collaboration technologies represent the biggest investment areas across the oil and gas industry. Over the next three to five years, investments are expected to increase.

The key for continued digital investment in the upstream sector is improving operational efficiency, rather than simply reducing cost, as faster, more informed decision making and a more efficient workforce were seen as the key areas where digital technologies are adding value and creating business efficiencies.

However, to get the most value from digital technologies, oil and gas industry firms said they need to overcome several barriers, with work flows and processes that create bottlenecks and physical and cyber security issues topping the list.

Approximately 89 per cent noted that leveraging more analytics capabilities would add more business value, 90 per cent felt more mobile technologies in the field would increase value, and 86 per cent said that leveraging more IIoT and automation would boost value.

Collaboration technologies were highlighted as an area that could be increasingly used in upstream to create a more efficient workforce and to make faster decisions.

Accenture’s energy industry group global head of digital Rich Holsman noted, “Oil and gas industry leaders continue to look to digital technologies as a way to address some of the key challenges the industry faces today in this lower crude oil price cycle.

“Making the most of Big Data, IIoT and automation are indeed the next big opportunities for energy and oilfield services companies, and many are already starting work in these areas. They are increasing investments in enabling people and assets, with a growing emphasis on developing data supply chains to support analytics projects that can improve efficiencies, manage cost and provide a competitive edge. Our survey tells us that companies who do not continue to invest in digital technologies risk being left behind.”

According to Craig Hodges, general manager of the Gulf Coast District at Microsoft, mobility and other digital technologies are gaining traction as oil and gas players learn to use the technologies to make faster and better decisions from the field to the front office.

“Predictive capabilities to optimise maintenance and maximise production can create value, and digital technologies also support better use of scarce resources and talent, management of more complex work, cost reduction efforts and innovation to remain competitive and continue operating safely.”

The Microsoft and Accenture Oil and Gas Digital and Technology Trends Survey 2015, conducted by PennEnergy Research, surveyed industry professionals worldwide, including engineers, geologists and mid-level and executive management from the upstream, midstream and downstream segments.

Also at the recently held Big Data Analytics for Oil & Gas event by Oil Review Middle East magazine in Abu Dhabi, Geoff Nesbitt of Petrofac, revealed that it is necessary to invest in Big Data to reduce maintenance costs in EPC value chain, which, in turn, can address plant asset management.

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