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Technology and Innovation Emerge as the Oil & Gas Industry Begins Recovery

Heidi-Lynne Balasch

Upstream SME, EPAM
  • Energy & Utilities

Over the past several years, the oil price downturn caused great upheaval in the oil and gas industry.  Budgets were slashed, people were laid off, salaries were cut and investment in innovation ceased. All the while, technology has advanced at an extraordinary rate.

With oil prices recovering, companies that survived the downturn are now looking to digital technologies in search of ways to increase efficiency and profits. In fact, as oil and gas companies rebuild their teams and begin hiring to re-staff projects, they are searching for the next wave of engineers who have the data science and analytics expertise to meet this demand.

Here are some of the most influential technologies that the oil and gas industry can expect to benefit from in the coming years:

Automation. RPA and machine learning tools are becoming essential to propelling the oil and gas industry into the future. Because automation is so versatile, it can be applied to many different operations. One use case includes rapidly iterating the impact of various drilling parameters on torque and drag, ROP and downhole vibration. Additionally, auto feedback loops would automate the WOB and RPM to optimize time and cost.

Virtual Reality. Another opportunity for transformation within the industry is to use virtual reality to visualize large quantities of data that are arranged in meaningful representations. What if, instead of reading a two-page drilling report, engineers and managers could immerse themselves in a 3D video recap of what happened on the drilling rig over the past 24 hours? Consider the paradigm shift of morning meetings, where less time would be spent deciphering reports and more time would be dedicated to problem-solving and engineering. VR could also be used to view the well plan and offer a 3D earth model depicting hole depth, casing points, drilling parameters, pressures, mud weights, hole inclination and azimuth.

Big Data & Predictive Analytics. Oil and gas companies are using big data to visualize and analyze complex problems and support engineering and business decisions. For example, predictive analytics could be applied to forecast the next hole section. Multiple sensors on the rigsite already collect and process the data required to enable this type of illustration. Think about voice commands and iterative capabilities. An engineer could dictate a voice command to calculate the impact of moving a casing depth and request a projection of the mud weight, time and cost to drill the well.

Not only are the resources available, but digital platforms are also highly transferrable and industry-agnostic, and the rapid tech evolution in the healthcare, telecom, automotive and financial services industries has already provided the oil and gas sector a vision for digital transformation. The next generation of oil and gas technology is coming, so get ready to transform.

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