Editor’s Note: This article was first published by the Environmental Defense Fund, an organization focusing on creating economical policies to support clean air and water; abundant fish and wildlife; and a stable climate. The article was authored by Isabel Mogstad and originally appeared here.
Digitalization equals disruption, equals better and more profitable business models. This has been a corporate mantra for years already as banks, retailers, manufacturers, high-tech companies and just about everyone else reinvented themselves with the help of mobile, cloud, and Big Data analytics.
The efficiencies and savings that come with automated asset management and the “Industrial Internet of Things,” or IIoT, are also why we’re now seeing oil and gas companies embark on a holistic digital transformation that affects virtually every facet of the business.
By adopting data-driven, predictive maintenance at their production sites, this industry alone could unlock as much as $1.6 trillion in additional value.
IIoT market may reach $310 billion by 2023
The global market for Industrial Internet of Things products and services is expected to soar from $64 billion to $310 billion by 2023, IoT Analytics predicts. Artificial intelligence combined with machine learning and “contextually rich” real-time data is in demand as executives rush to stay on top of this so-called Industry 4.0 trend, or scramble to catch up.
In fact, network losses and leakage detection have been identified as areas that have the most to gain from Industry 4.0 investments. That explains why some oil and gas companies are already working at the intersection of digitalization and methane management.
- Shell selected C3 IoT as its artificial intelligence platform, which will leverage AI for predictive maintenance on thousands of pieces of equipment. If these predictive maintenance algorithms are trained to correlate equipment performance with emissions events, they could predict leaks before they happen.
- Abu Dhabi National Oil Company recently announced it will invest $1.8 billion by 2023 in emissions abatement projects, including methane mitigation. This investment coincides with numerous digital initiatives, including the launch of a new digital hub.
- Norway-based Equinor, which has made lowering greenhouse gas emissions a corporate priority, plans to spend the equivalent of about $230 million on digitalization by 2020 on top of existing IT investments to increase profitability and meet its environmental goals.
Silicon Valley startups smell opportunity
Technology firms and oilfield service providers that develop new business models to embed digital methane reduction solutions into their broader industry offerings can gain a competitive advantage by, in turn, making their clients more efficient and carbon competitive.
Smaller digital oil and gas startups, meanwhile, can differentiate their offerings through environmental performance benefits. San Francisco-based Kelvin Inc., for example, demonstrated through its AI network for BP in Wyoming that digitalization can cut costs and increase production while reducing significant emissions events.
They can predict a problem before it occurs
Before all this technology came around, banks required customers to show up in person to deposit money and retail staff had to dig through backrooms to see if merchandise was in stock.
Today, all that information is getting automated. What’s more, businesses are able to predict when the next request for service or – worse – disruption to their supply chain will occur.
With 13 major oil and gas companies already signed on to the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative to reduce emissions from their operations, digitalization is simply too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Rather than deploying workers to scan equipment for leaks with handheld sensors, these companies can soon catch leaks before they occur and accelerate their action on methane reduction in a win-win for business and the environment.