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Will 2021 be the breakthrough year for digital technology in upstream oil and gas?

The past 10 years have been all about promise but not so much about delivery for digital technology in oil and gas. From 2009 to 2014 people talked a lot about digital technology, but at the end of the day, were making so  much money no-one had time or inclination to implement anything. Then from 2014 to 2019, the industry suffered from the oil price crash and the long drawn rebound from the crash, as oil companies rebuilt their balance sheets and refused to spend anything. Things started moving slowly in 2020.

But now the conditions are perfect. The industry has money to spend – and knows it needs to adjust to a different operating environment – with much more pressure on efficiency, safety, and all kinds of environmental monitoring, things which digital technology does well. And it is not too hard to predict a shortage of skilled manpower just around the corner, if it is not here already, so leading to even more reliance on digital technology to enable our existing skilled workers to maximise their contribution.

The industry is evolved different to how it was predicted. The buzz around machine learning  is thankfully declining, as people realise that the dream of computer decision making in our complex unstructured world is decades away, if that. But we are seeing far more use of data and analytics-  the only restriction being the availability of skilled domain experts, data scientists  and data engineers who can manipulate it and draw useful insights from it.

Just around the corner we may see better use of co-ordination tools – software which is not necessarily advanced technically, but which does the job of giving people the right information at the right time and handles the task of putting complex different information types together. And we will see more use of machine learning in specific applications, including spotting trends in sensor data and aligning well log data with seismic.

We are seeing big advances in use of satellite imagery in exploration and production, as well as advances in seismic technology, more use of HPC based seismic data processing, and big increase in the use of analytics on production and operations equipment. Much more use of sensors, analytics techniques and computer simulation.

This is the world Digital Energy Journal leads the industry through, with our bimonthly magazine, newsletter and events. And if you have products and services to sell to this sector, we offer you a great way to reach an engaged audience.

 We don’t promise enormous readership statistics – because, to be honest, working out the best way to use digital technology is not a subject everybody in the oil and gas industry is interested in. Also the people who are most interested are often not found in the IT department. But we do promise you an audience which cares deeply about where technology is going, and interested in hearing from companies with something new to say.

 You can find out how in the pages of this Media Guide.

Karl Jeffery, publisher, Digital Energy Journal
39-41 North Road, London N7 9DP, UK
Tel +44 208 150 5292


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