Commentary – The Future is Less About Oil Prices than Innovation

Mar 13 20:03 2018 Print This Article

Last week, 4,500 people from the global energy industry congregated in Houston, Texas for the annual IHS Markit CERAWeek conference. In every conference room and meeting location, conference attendees buzzed with enthusiastic conversation about change. Here are the major themes that dominated the discussion:

A digital oil and gas revolution. Technology jargon entered many conversations. Cloud computing, deep machine learning, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, big data, edge computing, digital twins, automation, fiber optics, robotic process automation, and the biggest of all: blockchain. Case studies were wide reaching. Artificial intelligence can find oil missed by human eyes. Robotic process automation or “bots” can perform repetitive back office tasks. Machine learning systems can reduce downtime by anticipating machine failures. Blockchain will change the way energy is traded and create smarter supply chains. The robots are coming too, freeing people from dangerous and repetitive tasks. BP’s Lamar McKay predicted that new work processes enabled by information technology will reduce the cost of extracting hydrocarbons by at least another 30 percent from today. Amongst all the excitement, Joe Kaeser from Siemens fired a warning shot; while digitization has enormous benefits, it also increases cybersecurity risk. He made a passionate case for the industry to undertake a collective effort to stay ahead of highly sophisticated hackers that could threaten the physical world.

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About Article Author

ARC Energy Ideas

ARC Financial Corp. is a Calgary-based, employee-owned, private equity management firm founded in 1989, with an exclusive focus on the Canadian energy industry. Through in-depth investment research capability leveraged to build a highly successful corporate advisory practice, ARC Financial Corp created ARC Resources Ltd in 1996. ARC Resources Ltd. is a TSX-listed company (ARX) that has become one of the leading players in the Canadian oil and gas sector. The mandate for the ARC Energy Funds is to provide growth equity capital for energy companies with a core focus on the Canadian oil and gas industry.

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