Despite current lower crude oil prices, most companies in the oil and gas industry plan to invest the same amount or more in digital technologies, according to a new survey by Accenture and Microsoft.
Survey respondents included international oil companies (IOCs), national oil companies (NOCs), independents and oilfield services firms.
In the near term during the current low crude price cycle, three out of five respondents said they plan to invest the same amount (32%), or more or significantly more (25%) in digital technologies.
Over the next three to five years, 80% of the oil and gas industry professionals surveyed said they plan to invest the same amount (18%), more (44%) or significantly more (18%) in digital. Respondents from IOCs and NOCs were the most bullish in the same time period.
Mobility, infrastructure and collaboration technologies currently represent the biggest investment areas across the oil and gas industry. Over the next three to five years, investments are expected to increase in big data and the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and automation.
Results suggest that the key for continued digital investment in the upstream sector is improving operational efficiency, rather than simply reducing cost, as faster, more informed decision making and a more efficient workforce were seen as the key areas where digital technologies are adding value and creating business efficiencies.
However, to get the most value from digital technologies, oil and gas industry leaders say they need to overcome several barriers, with workflows and processes that create bottlenecks and physical and cybersecurity issues topping the list.
Also, 89% noted that leveraging more analytics capabilities would add more business value, 90% felt more mobile technologies in the field would increase value, and 86% said that leveraging more IIoT and automation would boost value.
Collaboration technologies were highlighted as an area that could be increasingly used in upstream to create a more efficient workforce and to make faster decisions.