How Technology Is Changing the Oil and Gas Industry

With the growing popularity of renewable energy, the oil and gas industry has hit on hard times. Even though the word still depends on oil and gas, a lot...

With the growing popularity of renewable energy, the oil and gas industry has hit on hard times. Even though the word still depends on oil and gas, a lot of countries are starting to shift away. However, with the advance in technology, there have been many improvements to this industry as well. While some are struggling to keep up, the companies that manage to adapt and implement new ideas are still very strong on the global market. Here are a few examples that have the biggest impact on the oil and gas industry.

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Automation

When the oil prices started falling in 2014, oil companies realized that it’s time to modernize. Automation was a logical first step which minimized the time, error, and risk involved in human labor. While there used to be hundreds of people working on board of oil rigs, those numbers have significantly dropped – and they are predicted to go down even further. New robotic technologies make production much more effective and advances in drone technology are enabling companies to reach areas that used to be unavailable. Automation has also made oil and gas production safer. Engineers working in the industry are able to manage a project remotely and monitor drilling process from a safe distance with astonishing precision.  When the drill moves away for even a small fraction from the targeted point, the measuring devices will detect and alert the crew to make adjustments.

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Equipment and techniques

Modern oil extraction equipment has made oil and gas production a lot faster and therefore cheaper. Improved pumps are able to extract resources much faster, and stronger drilling equipment enables companies to dig even deeper. While a hundred years ago finding oil was considered pure luck, today’s radar and sonar equipment makes finding and exploring new areas a much more reliable operation. Modern equipment is also a lot safer and easier to maintain, making the investment more profitable in the long run. Companies which invested in modern oilfield products managed to stay ahead of the competition and continue to dominate the market even in a time when alternative energy sources are on the rise. New equipment also significantly reduces waste production, which has always been a hot topic in this industry.

Digital Transformation

The digital world is catching up with the oil and gas production and brings with it significant improvements to the industry. Artificial intelligence allows companies to better analyze their systems and detect inefficiencies. Using AI can improve performance, starting from field work all the way to management, thus making the production, transportation and sales more efficient. Cloud computing has improved the way companies analyze their huge amount of data. It has reduced operational expenses and made data storage less risky. With the fast-growing development of digital technologies, the costs of AI and cloud computing are expected to go down even further, giving companies which have moved to them early a huge advantage.

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A technology that deserves special mention is blockchain. This technology has vastly improved the management of large amounts of data. Blockchain has the potential to reduce the risks of fraud and make financial activities more efficient by reducing the chance of errors. The technology has many other uses as well; one of them is better monitoring and scheduling equipment maintenance.

The human factor

With all the new technologies being implemented, what does that mean for human labor? While automation has significantly decreased the number of people working in the industry, it has also opened up new job opportunities. Extracting oil and gas used to be a hard and dangerous job but newer and safer equipment means fewer accidents. People have moved away from operating heavy machinery to supervision and maintenance. So, instead of being replaced, the role of the human operator has changed to safer and more sophisticated duties.

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Advancements in technology have changed the way we do business; the oil and gas industry is no exception. While this field was initially slow at adapting, the competition of renewable energy has pushed the companies to implement innovative technologies and ideas in order to survive.  The companies which managed to incorporate these new ideas, however, have come ahead and are still a strong competitor in the global energy market.

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