DATA, the New Oil – How Tech Transformation can Fuel Efficiencies in Oil and Gas

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Emerging technologies have plunged into oil & gas in an approach to reduce downtime, improve safety, enhance regulatory compliance, and minimize carbon footprint. They are enabling a holistic view from extracting hydrocarbons to serving end-users for operational excellence. The sector’s digital transformation has reached new heights as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oil & gas companies are adopting intelligent automation and other digital enablers to synthesize large amounts of data and derive useful insights to ease complex field activities that have defined the upstream value chain. AI and ML algorithms are in action to screen and discover optimal acreage options, improve subsurface modeling, and enhance drilling performance. For instance, well operators are using AI to view real-time production data and predict future out comes.

What are the key challenges faced by the oil & gas industry?

The oil & gas sector is often challenged by increasing production costs, high risk exposures, growing environmental concerns, increasing complexities, and concerns of efficient asset management. Moreover, the impact and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in new challenges to sustain growth. The need to stay profitable amidst increasing costs, growing competition, and demand to increase productivity. There is hardly any risk O&G is not exposed to geopolitics, operational, regulatory. The growing world needs more fuel, but with lower carbon emissions. Issues created due to global nature of operations, remote handling of projects, multiplicity of stakeholders and divergence of their interests. Assets are core to business, and its reliability is critical for running business with minimum safety hazards.

Which technologies are helping the oil & gas sector?

Artificial intelligence, big data, cloud, digitization, Internet of Things, mobile, and robotics are the technologies that are helping the sector. The impact of emerging technologies such as IoT and AI has grown dramatically over the last decade in oil & gas to address various strategic challenges across the sector value chain. The use of AI, for instance, is aiding to solve several complex sub-surface engineering challenges.

How innovation helps oil & gas value chain?

The value chain consists of upstream, midstream, downstream, and end user. Although tech adoption in the oil & gas lags other sectors, it is still a major reason for the sector’s massive transformation evident from a growing number of innovation use cases across its value chain.


In the upstream, the advent of technologies such as AI and IoT has begun transforming the oil & gas sector with a growing number of use cases targeting efficient asset management and optimized production. The automated drilling rig is a new generation of technology that along with being efficient keeps workers safe, while also being environmentally friendly. Predictive maintenance tools are gathering vital equipment statistics by tapping technologies like AI and IoT for better asset management which can cutdown operational downtime. Production optimization has become a pivotal step on an oil & gas company’s journey to high performance where AI and ML are analyzing information to improve production. Companies use oil & gas simulation and modeling software on deposits, wells, infrastructure, and operations to create realistic representations of reservoirs, equipment use, and resistivity along with environmental effects. This helps forecast exploration or production results and assess risks that can affect safety and profitability.   


Technological advances like drones, IIoT, and advanced materials are facilitating better pipeline monitoring solutions against leakages, spillages, and corrosion. Drones with their superior supervision capabilities are helping for quick identification of leakages and spillages while complying with the environmental norms. To achieve operational excellence, players are leveraging disruptive technologies like IoT, ultrasonic, and data analytics to monitor corroding pipelines. Oil & gas companies are deploying optic fiber cables, drones, and IoT technologies to quick identify and arrest leakages to avoid losses and thereby maximize yield. Solution-makers are looking to harness the capabilities of advanced materials like graphene besides advanced technologies to avoid the rising concerns of environmental pollution.


The evolution of petroleum product demand and quality requirements, crude oil supply, and the economic climate has a significant influence on the oil refining operations. Players are adopting promising techs like IIoT, robotics, and ML to ensure high-quality output while distilling crude petroleum in a safe manner. New threat detection technologies are in place to safeguard downstream networks from ruptures, explosions, fires, releases, and spills that pose a serious concern to human and environmental safety. Software solution providers are actively helping oil & gas companies to tap technologies like AI for predicting outages and preparing for necessary actions. Oil & gas sites use a lot of expensive equipment where technology-powered surveillance is helping companies with safe and stable functioning while keeping intruders at bay. Disruptive technologies like AI and IIoT are ushering traditional predictive maintenance practices to a new era by augmenting them for better reliability and profitability. Refinery optimization by advanced technologies is improving the macro-operational visibility and efficiency and hence key technology players are keenly taking interest in it.

End user

Technology has enabled petroleum players to connect their users better and build a robust customer base by leveraging AI and IoT to provide facilities like smarter payments and communication. AI-powered chatbots are assisting oil & gas companies to communicate with their customers by performing surveys on their websites and collecting customer feedback to further enhance the customer experience by giving information about the products, addressing their problems, and making suggestions. Data scientists are leveraging Ai-powered consumption analytics to analyze colossal amounts of data generated and stored in the oil & gas sector during the well planning, drilling, and production stages. Digitally transforming end-to-end pricing and selling processes can impact oil & gas businesses by optimizing margin and volume, while offering the flexibility to dynamically change pricing and selling strategies in the face of disruption. The key to success of smart gas stations lies in transforming them into integrated technology and service hubs while offering superior brand experience for end customers. Oil and gas players have begun offering apps to facilitate payments via contactless medium to avoid churn and improve customer satisfaction.

What are the key companies using technology in the oil & gas sector?

Key companies using technology in oil & gas sector include a2i, ABB, AkerSolutions, Akselos, Aspentech, Aveva, AWS, Baker Hughes, Bentec, BP, and Bruker.

Market report scope

Outlook year 2021
Companies mentioned a2i, ABB, AkerSolutions, Akselos, Aspentech, Aveva, AWS, Baker Hughes, Bentec, BP, and Bruker.

This report provides an in-depth analysis of the following. It provides:

  • Theme Exposure: Presents the top themes impacting the sector over the last three years compared to other sectors.
  • Innovation Map: key real-world innovation use cases of emerging technologies implemented by enterprises and startups in the sector.
  • Innovation Insights: innovation examples by each value chain segment of the sector to present key trends.
  • Vendor Map: represents a sample list of vendors in each use case highlighted in the report.

Key Highlights

Innovations: presents real-world innovation use cases and examples related to the implementation of emerging technologies by companies as well as startups in the oil & gas sector. It casts light on how tech-enabled innovations are transforming every segment of the sector value chain.

Reasons to Buy

  • No surprise that technology has been a driving force in business transformation for years, but the term ‘emerging technologies’ has all of the sudden became the key catalyst to drive the next wave of innovation across sectors.
  • The sense of urgency weighs different across different sectors, where the direct customer-facing sectors are at the forefront compared to other capital-intensive sectors. Companies in one sector can take cues from successful innovations in other sectors to either draw analogies with existing products, services and processes or transfer strategic approaches for a revolutionary transformation.
  • Against this backdrop, enterprises need to understand which emerging technologies are impacting their sector and how various companies are implementing them to meet various challenges.
  • The innovation landscape report in oil & gas, published by GlobalData as part of an ongoing series, covers some of the key trends, use cases, and real-world examples related to the implementation of emerging technologies across the oil & gas sector value chain.

Baker Hughes
Control Scan
Data Gumbo
Forth Engineering
Gazprom Neft
Gecko Robotics
HGH Infrared
ITC infotech
Kairos Aerospace
Log 9
NALCO Champion
Oil Spill Response
Orbital Insights
SMP Robotics
Viper Drones

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1. Sector innovation insights: overview

2. What are the key sector strategic challenges faced?

3. Which technologies are helping the sector?

4. Innovation map by sector value chain: key use cases

4.1 Upstream

4.2 Midstream

4.3 Downstream

4.4 End User

5. Vendor map by sector value chain: key use cases

6. Methodology

Frequently asked questions

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