Comment: Grab oil and gas industry modernisation by the horns

Upstream needs to evolve and move with the times, or it will lose out on profit

COMMENT, Industry Trends

The oil and gas industry is teetering on a cliff at the moment, unsure whether the oil price is set to improve, maintain current levels, or dip. Market reports all point to a slow and steady improvement, but upstream companies cannot just sit on their laurels and wait for better prices to come to them. Now is the time to act, improve processes, innovate, experiment and research. Now is the time to trim the fat off operating costs, squeeze every drop of profit out of every function in the company.

To sing a mantra that has been pushed on the industry for quite a few years now, digitise, digitise, digitise. Gone are the days where companies could implement a single digital technology at a time, stand back and pat themselves on the back. Now, everything should be digitised. End-to-end processes should be automated, data collected and efficiently analysed, and answers - that will trim your bottom line even more - sought. More importantly there should be a strategy behind digitising the company, things shouldn’t be implemented willy-nilly, because as we all know, if you do things by half, you get half the results.

Another important thing to bear in mind is that the next generation holds the keys to developing technical processes and inventions that haven’t even been thought of yet. By relying on the grey-haired experts of the industry that know what has been, upstream is losing out on the talent that might just mean a breakthrough in EOR techniques, better data analysis from a well component, or a life saved through better HSE ideas.

Cyber security is an area that everyone in the upstream vertical should have jumped on years ago. Every year cyber security companies say the same thing. Did Shamoon and Stuxnet teach no one anything? Who is going to be to blame if a cyber-attack spills tankers’ worth of crude into the sea? It certainly isn’t the tanker’s fault. By not implementing an effective cyber security policy, companies are playing with billions and billions in potential compensation.

What this boils down to is that the upstream industry simply needs to just modernise its ideas and the way it does business. Perhaps finally it really is a case of modernise or fail?

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