Multinational oil and gas company BP has invested US$5mn in a cloud-based geospatial analytics software company using advanced spectral imaging and machine learning to monitor changes in the environment
To reap the benefits of deploying advanced digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, robotics and quantum computing, the global oil and gas industry needs to embrace a new business mindset and new digital skills.
Participating in the latest ADIPEC Energy Dialogue, Morag Watson, BP senior vice-president of digital science and engineering, said the oil and gas industry has been slower than other industries to open up to the possibilities of leveraging digital technologies in order to compete and succeed in the energy transition.
“For me it is not just about the technology,” Watson said. “Many of the technologies have been on a reasonably fast trajectory for a while. The industry has to be open to thinking, how can we do things differently?
“It doesn’t just happen by saying here are 10 robots that are going to do your work for you. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to have the right business mindset to make it possible for the technology to radically change how you do things.”
Highlighting the oil and gas industry is still at the beginning of how digital technologies can help it cope with the challenges created by the energy transition, Watson said companies should look outside the industry for innovative ideas on how to use digital technologies to help them stay successful.
Watson cited BP’s US$5mn investment in a Satelytics — a cloud-based geospatial analytics software company using advanced spectral imaging and machine learning to monitor environmental change, including methane emissions — as an example of how BP is making strategic investments in innovative, game-changing technologies and businesses that can help re-imagine the global energy system.
“At BP we see our venture capital programme and the companies we help as a source of innovation and a crucial part of our strategy going forward,” Watson said. “These people see things differently, things that we might not have seen for ourselves. We don’t have all the answers and we want to engage with the external eco-system because we know the great ideas and solutions will come from many, many different places, helping us to innovate through our many challenges as we move forward.”
Addressing the need to bring new digital native talent to the oil and gas industry, Watson said it needs to do more to convince young people that it offers exciting careers in an industry seeking responses to the world’s biggest challenges, including climate change.
“The industry needs to embrace the diversity of talent that is available across the world and to inspire and attract people through a different lens by connecting them to the technology, or how we use it. A good example would be our investment in Beyond Limits, and saying how can we take technology that is used on Mars and apply that in the energy industry? That is a hugely inspiring story,” Watson said.