As the upstream environment gets tougher for the oil and gas industry, information technology is playing an increasingly vital role to make operations more integrated and efficient. Growing evidence of this comes from the findings of the latest Accenture and Microsoft Upstream Oil and Gas Computing Trends Survey
This survey found that nearly three quarters of the oil companies questioned, spent as much as or more “focus and investment” on information technology (IT) in 2011 than in 2010. Two important factors drove their IT spending: the drive to reduce costs, and the need to handle ever increasing amounts of data.
Also, since 2011, oil companies have been dealing with additional business issues like new drilling legislation, which is affecting their IT strategy. Post the Macondo incident in the US Gulf of Mexico; most oil companies have re-evaluated their drilling safety procedures with a view to reducing risk.
The increasing focus on risk management was acknowledged by almost 75 percent of the oil industry professionals who responded to the survey, as the main driver for seeking greater IT integration in the upstream. Slightly fewer—around sixty percent—worry that new drilling regulations may have slowed down business processes.
Cost and data issues are not new challenges to companies in the upstream. Neither is the primary focus on health and safety. However what is rising to the fore with incidents like Macondo is the increasing importance of IT in upstream efficiency. This is likely to be accelerated as companies anticipate that their current use of technologies such as cloud and mobility will rise sharply in the next year. The need for greater risk management, improved incident response, greater access to and visibility of information will continue to drive greater software integration in the upstream.