Australian oil and gas sector set to be among key early adopters of AI: GlobalData

The Australian oil and gas industry will be among the first movers in adopting artificial intelligence, according to data and analytics specialist GlobalData.

The oil and gas (O&G) market is influenced by several factors outside the control of companies, GlobalData explained. “As such, the long-term competitiveness of O&G industry will depend on the use of technology. Against this backdrop, the Australian O&G industry will be among the first movers in adopting artificial intelligence,” it added.

It said the Australian O&G market witnessed a strong overall decline in its value during 2013-17 thanks largely to falling crude oil prices, adding that the total revenues represented a compound annual rate of change (CARC) of -14.8% from 2013 to reach $21.4bn in 2017.

“Volatility is the new normal in the O&G industry,” said GlobalData Technolgoy Research Director Dustin Kehoe. “There are many factors influencing global energy prices such as geo-politics, changes in energy consumption, substitution, increasing regulation and current OPEC policies. However, the use of technology will help reduce costs, increase productivity and streamline business processes across a supply chain with hundreds of touchpoints.”

“In the not too distant future, the industry will see even more innovation such as intelligent robots, virtual assistants, augmented, virtual reality and drones which will offer sweeping improvements across the supply chain from site exploration in the digital oilfield to last mile distribution,” Kehoe added.

GlobalData said that while only at its infancy, the key applications of AI today have been in exploration in areas such as natural seep detection, and drilling operations to improve site planning and extraction optimization for upstream suppliers especially when mapping the digital oilfield.

It is also being used in Australia to improve monitoring and compliance for health and safety. “In fact, there are many interesting use cases across the supply chain, such as asset, personnel and fleet management. These areas help in storage, manufacturing, production, transport and distribution of O&G,” the firm added.

While the data collected with the use of AI will be invaluable for the future of many industries, including O&G, the analyst firm warned that businesses will also need to have a company-wide strategy in place for data collection, management and security. “However, only 10% of businesses have such a system in place,” it said.

Kehoe said that while GlobalData’s research shows the O&G sector to be big users of software-defined networking and wireless technology today, there will be a shift in cloud from dedicated private to infrastructure-as-a-service in Australia.

“We are also seeing the sector embracing a myriad of low-power wide-area network technologies for IoT and security. Beyond the use of technology, will be people. The industry should also consider new approaches to managing extreme uncertainty, such as Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and others, when the end-state is uncertain,” he said.

‘While technology is not exactly seamless, people and culture are often the biggest obstacles to a successful transformation.”

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