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Digital investment

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A new survey from Accenture and Microsoft has said that despite the current lower crude oil price, most companies in the oil and gas sector plan to invest the same amount or more in digital technologies. Survey respondents included IOCs, NOCs, independents and oilfield services firms.


In the near term during the current low crude price cycle, approximately three out of five respondents said they plan to invest the same amount or more or significantly more in digital technologies. Over the next three to five years, approximately 80% of the oil and gas industry professionals surveyed said they plan to invest the same amount, more or significantly more in digital. Respondents from IOCs and NOCs were the most bullish in the same time period.

Mobility, infrastructure and collaboration technologies currently represent the biggest investment areas across the oil and gas sector. Over the next three to five years, investments are expected to increase in big data and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and automation.

The key for continued digital investment in upstream 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, in order to get the most value from digital technologies, oil and gas industry leaders say 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% noted that leveraging more analytics capabilities would add more business value, 90% felt more mobile technologies in the field would increase value, and 86% 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.


Rich Holsman, Global Head of Digital, Accenture said, “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.”

Craig Hodges, General Manager, Gulf Coast District, Microsoft said, “mobility and other digital technologies are gaining traction as oil and gas players learn to use these technologies to make faster and better decisions from the field to the front office. Predictive capabilities to optimise maintenance and maximised 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”

Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd

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