The oil and gas industry has always been erratic. Prices went up and down, energy suppliers were approved and sanctioned, and often when all that happened, monies were quickly made and lost. Industry leaders have mastered their capability to co-exist with volatility, but the situation they’ve faced in 2020 was unprecedented.

This year can be reasonably called a year of multi-pronged disruption. First, there was a global oversupply, later we saw a sharp slump in demand caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and finally, a social calling to provide a good response to global warming. All these challenges have heralded massive changes and accelerated the inevitable digital transformation in oil and gas.

The future of oil and gas: where is it all going?

In the coming months or years, some challenges will be lessened or even gone. Nevertheless, the oil & gas (O&G) industry is at a tipping point, and to keep companies afloat and become resilient to any future emergencies, management teams need to optimize their portfolios and unleash new methods to add value. In this context, it’s hardly surprising that talking to current customers and business leads, the most frequently asked questions we get are “what are the main oil and gas trends?” and “what oil and gas emerging technologies do guarantee the maximum return-on-investment (ROI)?” But for all that, we have the answers. 

This year, Mike Orr, President of Digital Oil and Gas Solutions Division at TEAM International, took part in a global survey held by Ernst & Young, one of the world’s largest professional service networks. With 25+ years of experience in the O&G industry under his belt, Mike shared his personal observations, knowledge, and expertise as both a frontline worker of the industry and a head of the service department empowering market leaders.  

As his experience and survey data have shown, to stay competitive despite any headwinds, O&G companies need to demonstrate agility and tech-savviness while adjusting to the next normal. For instance, in the coming three years, market leaders mostly plan to invest in the following oil and gas industry and technology trends: 

  • Advanced analytics
  • Artificial intelligence and/or machine learning
  • Сloud computing
  • Mobile platforms/apps
  • Virtual and/or augmented reality
  • Remote monitoring
  • Operational technology (remote sensors and others)
  • Robotic process automation (RPA)
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Blockchain

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to close offices and shift to remote work immediately was one of the biggest blows for many fields, and O&G was no exception. Being highly dependent on manual processes and in-person activities, most enterprises were forced to go all out on the development or modernization of cloud infrastructures, security protocols, and workflows. However, this situation has only paved the way for the full-scale adoption of digital technology in the oil and gas industry. And while we’re still not sure about the duration of the epidemic impact on the field, drawing up a plan to digitize and adjust is essential.  

Indeed, estimating the damages is crucial for going ahead, but we can already define forward-looking areas and activities that O&G leaders can focus on. After all, it’s not only the pandemic that drives the changes. These days there is much tension around the issue of social consciousness and climate change. And even if firms survive the epidemic, there will be another pressure coming from society and investors.  

Consequently, to emerge from this crisis in a stronger position, management teams should now focus on the following top five oil and gas industry trends. 

oil and gas industry outlook 2021

By prioritizing and mixing the mentioned trends, business executives can future-proof their businesses and gain a strong competitive edge, as well as optimize operating costs, improve their development capabilities, and contribute to a healthier future. The E&Y survey once again proved that the COVID-19 pandemic had emphasized the urgency of investing in new technologies in oil and gas production and asset management. But how radically the industry ecosystem will be

reconfigured, and when, it all depends not only on business executives but also on governments, investors, regulators, and global demand.

How Digital Oil and Gas Solutions Division at TEAM International can help

Even though most organizations realize the importance of disruptive technology in oil and gas and are ready to invest in it, a large majority of executives admit that their companies don’t possess the necessary skills and talents to lead the innovation and realize the investment value. Based on our experience and survey data, today, enterprises mainly suffer from a shortage of the following digital skills:

  • Artificial intelligence – 57%
  • Data science – 52%
  • Design thinking – 43%
  • Data analytics – 43%
  • Digital engineering – 42%

Consequently, the competition for digital talents is expected to heat up in the foreseeable future. While only a few executives have a clear plan to reskill their employees, a vast majority of respondents opt for other strategies, where process automation and collaboration with external organizations are among the most popular solutions to this talent shortage problem.

Digital Oil and Gas Solutions Division at TEAM International not only provides the necessary skills and knowledge to help companies integrate the emerging technologies, create new business value, and become well-prepared for the future. The division also offers a holistic set of relevant and powerful products exclusively designed to address current industry challenges and empower digital transformation in oil and gas.

Their solutions allow enterprises to create oil and gas digital twin replicas of pipeline networks and regularly pull in sensor readings from the fields, prevent downtimes, and take a proactive approach to production improvements. They help businesses optimize workflows by 98,8 percent, eliminating dozens of manual processes and facilitating land asset management. They promote predictive maintenance service to guarantee pipeline integrity and business continuity despite any contingencies in the long run. But most importantly, these digital products bring you ahead of the curve by eliminating the need to develop similar solutions from the ground up, reconfigure your infrastructure, or modernize your legacy systems.

As the E&Y survey shows, digital trends in oil and gas industry require bold steps, but with a robust strategy and innovative toolset, O&G organizations can pivot quickly and successfully meet future demands no matter how bumpy their roads will be.