Virtual Reality (VR) in Oil and Gas – Thematic Research

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The global VR market was worth nearly $5 billion in 2020. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 26% during the forecast period.

Virtual reality (VR) technology is becoming commonplace in the oil and gas industry as it helps to visualize 3D simulations of real-world objects. VR and augmented reality (AR) enable oil and gas companies to train workers on-field equipment in a simulated environment to build their situational awareness. It can help develop safety procedures at production facilities to address smaller accidents as well as for emergency response. VR simulation can also be used to design workflows and identify bottlenecks to optimize a plant’s performance.

Overview of the global VR market

Overview of the global VR market

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What are the market dynamics of VR in the oil & gas industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic forced countries to impose nationwide lockdowns that led to massive disruption in labor availability worldwide. Although critical sectors were allowed to function, the disease itself often rendered oilfield technicians incapable of performing their duties. This led to a spike in the adoption of digital technologies, including wearable devices equipped with VR/AR technologies, drones, and other robotic technologies for data acquisition.

Besides gaining further traction in training, some energy companies also used VR to give a guided tour of their premises during the recruitment of new talent. VR also saw applications in the inspection and certification of oil and gas assets. Leading certification providers, such as Bureau Veritas and Lloyd’s Register, offered remote inspection services to negotiate the worldwide travel restrictions.

One segment that could especially benefit from VR is heavy equipment manufacturing. These companies could create virtual designs of their machinery, such as drill bits, and share blueprints to potential customers in the oil and gas industry to boost sales.

What are the key trends that will shape the VR theme in the coming months?

The key trends shaping the VR theme over the next 12 to 24 months can be divided into five categories: oil & gas trends, technology trends, macroeconomic trends, regulatory trends, and media trends.

Oil & gas trends

The main oil and gas trends that will impact the VR theme are simplifying workflows with VR simulation, accelerating the adoption of digital twins, visualization of subsea and subsurface topography, conducting immersive training programs, remote surveying, and verification of assets, and supporting product development & sales.

Technology trends

The main technology trends that will impact the VR theme are metaverse, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, 5G, and the future of work.

Macroeconomic trends

The main macroeconomic trends that will impact the VR theme are COVID-19, enterprise adoption, and the search for a killer app.

Regulatory trends

The main regulatory trends that will impact the VR theme are data privacy and legal challenges.

Media trends

The main media trends that will impact the VR theme are gaming, VR advertising, and films.

What are the different value chains of VR?

The value chains of VR can be divided into five major segments: semiconductors, components, headsets, platforms, and applications & content.

Semiconductors segment in VR value chain

VR requires dedicated silicon. Several chipmakers are investing in developing VR-specific chipsets, which will enhance the standalone capabilities of devices and make them more versatile.

Components segment in VR value chain

Motion sensors, cameras, audio, displays, and batteries are some of the key components in VR headsets. To reduce motion sickness, many of these components are being re-invented with a focus on reducing sensor latency. The aim is to reduce the lag between the user’s motion and the computer-generated response inside the VR headset.

Headsets segment in VR value chain

VR requires headsets—also called HMDs or goggles—that completely cover the eyes for an immersive experience. VR headsets are available in four different forms: console-tethered headsets like Sony’s PSVR; PC-tethered headsets like HTC Vive Pro; smartphone-tethered headsets like the erstwhile Samsung Gear VR; and untethered headsets such as Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive Focus, and Pico Neo 3.

Platforms segment in VR value chain

Long-term success in the VR industry will come to those who build an entire ecosystem for users rather than simply manufacturing hardware. The five VR platforms are APIs and SDKs, VR engines – games, VR engines – enterprises, AI, and application delivery networks (ADNs) & content delivery networks (CDNs).

Applications & content segment in VR value chain

The main bottleneck for VR is content. While the first generation of VR was primarily interested in hardware development, the second generation is more focused on content. Several initiatives along similar lines are already underway. For instance, Google and LG Uplus are jointly working on VR content development and distribution, while Facebook and HTC share some of their content to maximize adoption.

Global VR market, by value chain

Global VR market, by value chain

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Which are the leading oil & gas companies associated with the VR theme?

The leading oil & gas companies associated with the VR theme are BP Plc, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, Shell, Saudi Aramco, and Sinopec.

Leading oil & gas companies associated with VR theme

Leading oil & gas companies associated with VR theme

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Which are the leading technology companies associated with the VR theme?

The leading technology companies associated with the VR theme are ByteDance, DPVR, Meta, HTC, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Sony, Unity, Valve, and Walt Disney.

Leading technology companies associated with VR theme

Leading technology companies associated with VR theme

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Market report scope

Market size Nearly $5 billion
CAGR >26%
Forecast period 2020-2030
Key trends Oil & Gas Trends, Technology Trends, Macroeconomic Trends, Regulatory Trends, and Media Trends
Value chains Semiconductors, Components, Headsets, Platforms, and Applications & Content
Key oil & gas companies BP Plc, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, Shell, Saudi Aramco, and Sinopec
Key technology companies ByteDance, DPVR, Meta, HTC, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Sony, Unity, Valve, and Walt Disney


  • This report presents an overview of the adoption of virtual reality in the oil and gas industry.
  • It analyses the VR value chain and how it is impacting the oil and gas business.
  • The report provides an overview of the competitive positions held by oil and gas companies and technology vendors in the VR theme.
  • It also provides some VR case studies in the oil and gas industry.

Reasons to Buy

  • Evaluates the VR value chain and evaluates its scope for various application
  • Impact analysis of VR in the oil and gas industry
  • Review of some of the case studies highlighting the VR in the oil and gas industry
  • Identify and benchmark key oil and gas companies using VR in their operation
  • Identify and benchmark key VR technology providers in the oil and gas industry

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 4

Impact on the Oil and Gas Industry 5

Case Studies 7

Players 8

Technology Briefing 9

Trends 12

Oil and gas trends 12

Technology trends 14

Macroeconomic trends 16

Regulatory trends 17

Media trends 18

Industry Analysis 19

Market size and growth forecasts 19

Competitive analysis 21

Patent trends 22

Company filings trends 22

Use cases 23

Mergers and acquisitions 26

Timeline 27

Value Chain 28

Semiconductors 28

Components 31

Headsets 33

Platforms 34

Applications and content 36

Companies 38

Oil and gas companies 38

Technology companies 40

Glossary 43

Further Reading 46

| Our Thematic Research Methodology 47

| About GlobalData 51

| Contact Us 52

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