Detecon Trend Report: Oil and Gas Industry Must Invest in New Technologies

  • Companies must use stable oil prices for digitization
  • Automated inspections and data-driven optimization of operations are among the biggest trends
  • Smart gas stations are waiting in the wings

Digitization is in full swing, driving profound change for companies and entire industries and sectors. In recent years, oil companies have struggled with relatively low oil prices and declining profit margins, so innovation and investment have been given low priority in this environment.

"However, with energy prices increasingly stabilizing, companies now have the resources to invest and innovate technologies. They should take advantage of this opportunity to reduce long-term costs and ensure that they do not fall behind in competition with innovative competitors," says Marcus Felsmann, Head of Energy at Detecon.

However, finding, evaluating, and comparing new technologies and trends is a challenge for companies facing time and resource constraints. Detecon has therefore investigated the latest developments in the oil and gas sector and summarized them in a trend report to provide industry decision-makers with a valuable overview of current and future trends which may become relevant for their own business model.

The trend report summarizes a large number of technological trends into seven industry-specific oil & gas industry trends. These developments are considered over several years along the oil & gas supply chain; from exploration and production to transportation, refining, and trading and distribution. In addition, each trend is evaluated according to the following criteria: complexity, market penetration, risk, novelty and maturity.

Three very big trends are emerging for the petroleum industry in 2019:

Automated site inspection

Pipelines and refineries are vulnerable to damage due to long distances of thousands of kilometers and the remoteness of their locations. Therefore, in order to detect potential damage, the sites must be regularly inspected and monitored. With aerial drones and robots in combination with machine learning algorithms, this inspection work can be automated in the near future.

Data-driven optimization of production sites

Emerging technologies such as low-cost sensors, 5G, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence enable companies to collect large amounts of data along their upstream and downstream activities. Real-time data from underground or hard-to-reach locations helps operators better understand actual asset conditions. This allows them to optimize drilling and production operations. Combining real-time and historical data sets also enables predictions and computerized recommendations for operational decisions in the field.

Smart Gas / Gas Stations

The development of new service station concepts  is the third trend that companies should at least adapt to. Changing customer behavior and developments in the mobility market are forcing service stations to rethink their traditional business models. At the same time, new technologies are also enabling new service offerings. By transforming the classic service station into a Smart Gas & Service Station, customers can, for example, drive into the station, have their vehicle refueled by staff or robots, and leave the station again without getting out. Payment is made in the background via mobile payment. Possible purchases are brought directly to the car.

"The first two trends enable cost reductions and optimizations, which leads to a competitive advantage in the market. The developments around the Smart Gas & Service Station create the opportunity to rethink the classic service station concept and open up new business potential. Therefore, companies should act now and develop new business models to create profitable ecosystems around their existing retail networks," conclude Detecon partners Dr. Christian Kleinhans and Dr. Volker Rieger.