Oil & gas: embracing the digital future

The Covid-19 pandemic has definitely affected all existing industries and sectors on the planet — and oil and gas are not different. However, this doesn’t mean that the crisis has not presented some opportunities for crucial industry decision-makers. For instance, this pandemic could act as something of a springboard; particularly when it comes to creating more sustainable and stronger business models.

Cutting-edge digital technologies could make the crux of this effort, allowing existing companies to achieve more with fewer resources, as well as attract younger talent.
Plenty of directors and partners in major oil companies have talked about how the coronavirus pandemic has altered both short-term and long-term outlooks in the business. Namely, due to the fact that oil and gas companies must learn how to extract bigger margins via technological diversification. Their businesses must become less cyclical and sturdier, independent of their exposure to production and exploration.
For example, most offshore companies had major troubles adapting to the changes brought by the coronavirus pandemic. Herein, we’re talking about practical adaptations that had to be performed in the work environment. There have been plenty of projects that had to be shut in, as well as crews that were pulled back from their offshore locations altogether. In many cases, only operations related to core productions remained functional. The sector is set to recover sluggishly, but digital technologies could help with all of that.
At first, trade shows and industry gatherings were centered around conversations on immediate responses; how decision-makers could provide quick adaptive measures to the virus. But after that, it became more and more about ambitions to extract some value from the disastrous events of 2020; using the new environment to create more resilient, sustainable business models for the offshore industries and cogeneration projects in a mid-term outlook.
For instance, there have been examples where North Sea offshore operations managed to retain a more than acceptable level of productivity while also applying all of the required coronavirus measures. They were forced to pull back a little under half of their regular crew from offshore platforms. However, innovative use of digital wearables, remote viewing, and contemporary work planning allowed them to achieve staggering results; 90% of all the planned core activities and plant maintenance!
Of course, there are issues with digital innovations in the oil and gas industries beyond such smaller remedies. If digital technologies were to be adopted more widely along the value chain for offshore businesses, all of the companies involved would actually suffer from a challenge in recruitment.