Trends in the oil and gas industry are important to note in 2021. This is because an industry-wide shift is occurring – largely the result of a few key trends. Changes in technology have contributed to much of that development, but there are several other factors at play. These include changes within the workforce and a move to greater use of robotics.
Navigating a global pandemic has added challenges and caused a reassessment of the future. As the global recovery starts to take place in 2021, we highlight four trends in the oil and gas industry that are important to recognize to ensure further progress.
Trend 1 Renewed Focus on Natural Gas
Historically, the energy sector has focused on oil. However, dry natural gas has become even more popular in recent years as a low-carbon, environmentally friendly alternative to oil. Despite a slightly lower output in 2020 due to the pandemic, the U.S. has seen a huge increase during May 2021. This is expected to continue to grow for another year or so.
Trend 2 Workforce Changes – Boomer to Millennial
Studies indicate that older oil and gas workers – the so-called boomers – are rapidly retiring from their positions. In acknowledgement of this, there is a trend in the oil and gas industry for companies to try to retain more millennials.
This can have several implications. Millennials are more willing to job-hop in expectation of additional experience, faster career development, and the opportunity to innovate and embrace up-to-date technology. These are the very things the gas and oil industry has fallen behind on and is desperate to see.
Trend 3 Automation and Data Analysis
Robotics and automation have been proving their worth within the oil and gas sector.
This trend is likely to continue as automation helps with repetitive or laborious tasks. This includes such tasks as wastewater disposal, drill pipes, and repairing broken machinery. As a result, labor costs fall due to the increased speed and efficiency of automation over human intervention.
In parallel, there is a welcome and necessary ongoing trend in all areas of the oil and gas industry to collect and analyze data more effectively.
Deploying more robots in the industry has therefore released humans to be productively involved in valuable data analysis. This will fuel relevant and needed innovation going forward.
Trend 4 Connectivity With IoT
Another major technological trend has been the increased use of software within the oil and gas industry to link areas of operation.
For example, by implementing what is now known as the Internet of Things (IoT), companies are able to use the data collected from various assets to quickly identify faults and safety concerns.
The software can also show areas where problems are likely to arise, which leads to preventative maintenance. This helps minimize machine replacement by pre-empting breakdowns – which in turn reduces capital spend and enables investment elsewhere upstream, midstream, or downstream.
Being aware of trends in the oil and gas industry at large, and becoming agile in adapting to new technology and innovations, is essential to moving forward successfully in the new decade.
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