According to Frost & Sullivan digital transformation is occurring on a massive scale due to the need for increased efficiency, safety, and sustainability.
New disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), are already in use and driving digital trends across the industry. They are expected to play a bigger role as the industry recovers from COVID-19.
From a revenue perspective, the total oil & gas automation market is expected to reach US$24.63 billion by 2025, up from US$17.17 billion in 2020 and growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5%.
“Industry 4.0 has been transforming the oil and gas value chain by enhancing connectivity, simplifying operation maintenance, and prioritizing safety. The digitalization of drilling processes in the upstream sector is a high-growth area and can significantly boost production,” said Agustina DeSarriera, research analyst, energy & environment at Frost & Sullivan.
She added that operational technologies (OT), such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, distributed control systems (DCSs), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), are already in place. However, to optimise automation, companies will soon have to include AI, IoT and robotics technologies in their operations.
“Environmental regulations and agreements are compelling the industry to become more sustainable, and participants are recognizing that one of the easiest ways to achieve higher process efficiencies is automation. With the pandemic causing a resource shortage, it is imperative that oil & gas companies tap automation to reduce human exposure and perform rote tasks that were previously performed by humans,” said DeSarriera.
Tech-lead growth opportunities
As the industry feels the pressure to become more sustainable and less labour-intensive, there will be greater growth opportunities for technology providers of:
AI: Vendors need to highlight the use of AI to automate drilling operations and their ability to eventually decrease the number of wells needed for oil & gas operations. AI can also help avoid incidents and improve environmental performance by predicting leakages and identifying them in real-time.
Robotics: Vendors can help clients overcome their technology shyness by assigning robots to departments where they can demonstrate maximum value.
IoT: By showcasing the technology’s adaptability and ability to complement other technologies such as AI and OT, IoT providers will find it easier to get buy-in from clients. They can also partner with technology companies that provide OT solutions such as sensors and transmitters and help them transform into smarter tools.