Future Oil & Gas: Digital Transformation

Technological change is poised to disrupt the upstream sector introducing new ways of working. How should business leaders respond to these changes?

The digital transformation continues to sweep through the industrial sector and the oil and gas industry is no exception. But what is at the heart of this transition? One opinion that we hear at the annual Future Oil & Gas conference and exhibition is integration. Digitisation is about integrating different disciplines and functions – bringing people together tearing down the walls of organisational structures and integrating data in order to work together more effectively and efficiently in generating value.

There is no doubt that we’re on the path to really transform the industry and the rewards are tantalising. As Brendan Sullivan, Chief Technology & Chief Information Officer at RigNet, Platinum Sponsor to Future Oil & Gas 2020, pointed out: “A single-digit change to non-productive time brought around by machine learning and AI can yield billions of dollars of savings per company”.
“The industry is in the middle of this paradigm shift where we are seeing some of the results brought around by digitalisation, but we still have a long way to go”.

Taking place in Aberdeen on 9-10 June 2020, The 4th Future Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition will address these issues. Future Oil & Gas conference and exhibition explores how disruption, digitalisation and innovation is shaping the upstream oil and gas industry. The event will analyse key challenges and opportunities facing the industry with a focus on IoT, AI, machine learning, blockchain, energy transition, data analytics, cybersecurity and many other aspects of digital transformation.

Brendan Sullivan, Chief Technology & Chief Information Officer at RigNet
The 2019 conference determined that people and skills are just as important as processes in the transformation of the upstream oil and gas sector and the 2020 event will build on these findings.
David Rennie, Head of Oil & Gas, Scottish Enterprise said: “Technology convergence around automation and AI, alongside digitisation, data and advanced analytics, is transforming the economy, jobs market and how we work.”

Digitalisation is about turning data into trusted data, insights and actions. But data can be both an asset and a threat in a digitally transformed business. As organisations across the globe continue to prioritise digitalisation, the threat landscape continues to expand. Security breaches can have far-reaching effects for companies of all sizes including political and economic impacts. The implications for operators could include plant or production shutdown, utilities interruptions, equipment damage or loss of quality, undetected spills and of course safety measure violations.
It is clear that digital transformation involves some pretty important changes to business culture and that it comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities.

The oil and gas industry has been described as a huge tanker – slow to change course. We observe that the oil and gas sector lags behind other industries in its digital journey and there is a clear need for greater collaboration in the industry at all levels. So now is clearly the best time to adopt new technologies, get new talent on board and transform our corporate cultures. The industry is in a fantastic position, with enviable assets.

We believe that technology lies at the heart of increased efficiencies, new business models and organisational structures, new skills, and new investments. We also believe that it is essential to energy transition with both the immense opportunities this offers, and the adjustments it will present.
A huge transformational change to embrace the era of AI and digital technology is afoot. The best way to move people past the fear of AI is getting them involved in the conversation and the decisions about digital. The possibilities that abound in the industry today have the potential to transform processes and procedures within businesses and in due course make employees jobs that little bit easier.
We urge you to use Future Oil & Gas 2020 as the platform to navigate your best course forward.

Key Topics for discussion
Future Oil & Gas (9-10 June 2020) will look at how digital technologies are reconfiguring the operating landscape for the oil and gas sector facilitating increased productivity, cost savings and safer operations. Enhanced oil recovery, analytics, predictive maintenance, productivity gains, enhanced asset security and performance forecasting are just some of the key advantages of adopting a digital transformation model that will be discussed at the conference.


Digital is central to the economic future of the oil and gas sector, but not simply in its own right. Digital transformation must serve a real purpose such as increasing efficiency or generating new business models, resulting in real change and benefit for customers and staff. Digitalisation is a cultural shift as much as a technical one for an industry that has traditionally been risk-averse and focussed on operation, not innovation.


People and skills are just as important as processes in the transformation of the upstream oil and gas sector. The industry of today is not ready for fully automated solutions, but data provides insights for decisions to be made by humans in effective human-machine collaboration.


The energy and petroleum sectors are vulnerable to increasingly innovative and sophisticated cyber attacks. Companies must create a culture for reducing digital vulnerabilities in the same way that they manage physical risks, such as fires or explosions.


Technology transformation will come from multiple collaborations reaching across disciplines and industries. Future Oil & Gas is proud to welcome world-leading tech companies whose applications are not confined to the upstream sector alone or not even developed with the oil & gas industry first in mind.


Deployment of new technologies with data at the heart will become a key part of the investment decision making process. Oil & Gas companies are reshaping internally around strategic value creation from data and digitisation.


How should we approach the future of the industry and is there a possibility of achieving net-zero by 2050 partly as a result of digitalisation? Environmental regulation to support lower carbon emissions is putting pressure on the sector to form collaborative arrangements with natural gas and renewable energy businesses. This is not an “oil & gas” only industry anymore.

More like this