For Calgary-based Obsidian Energy, 2018 has already brought exciting changes. Founded over 30 years ago under the name PennWest Petroleum Ltd., this energy company has already announced the addition of a new board member and is embracing their name change, which took effect June of 2017. In an interview with the Toronto Stock Exchange, President and CEO David French described the company’s recent overhaul, which included decreasing the number of operating areas from 30 to 3 and the acquisition of most of the Pembina Cardium region, which he predicts will be a source of income and funding for many years to come. The entire oil and gas industry is expected to experience the growth of several new trends this year, all of which will change the way energy businesses operate.
One of these exciting trends is the growth of robotics in the oil and gas industry. Experts predict that robotic technologies will continue to be mastered and become more commonplace in 2018. Companies like Obsidian Energy will find robotics are most useful for repetitive tasks, such as machine repair and pipe connections. Many companies are already using robotic technology to repair drill pipes and waste water disposal pumps. As these technologies continue to improve, engineers will need to find ways for current technology, such as robotic sensors, to be re-used. This will decrease the cost of updating to new technologies. All of these robotic innovations will also reduce labor costs for companies.
Another exciting trend expected in 2018 is the continued growth of 4D seismic technology. This technology is helping energy companies track how hydrocarbon reserves change over time. This data is revolutionizing the industry and providing jobs to many researchers who are providing the information energy companies need to make well-informed and costly decisions. This technology is expected to make deep sea exploration more efficient and successful. Energy companies across the world are currently using this technology to grow their businesses.
Oil and gas mobility trends are also expected to change this year. The demand for fuel is growing all over the globe, and energy companies are being forced to change the way they regulate and manage these demands. The optimization of this process involves collecting and analyzing data about many facets of business, including: human resources, technologies, business processes, and financial operations. Currently, North American companies, like Obsidian Energy, have the largest mobility component in their business plan. However, it is expected that these technologies will continue in other areas as well, especially in Europe and Asia.
Cloud computing, which has been revolutionizing businesses of every type for years now, is also expected to grow in the oil and gas industry in 2018. This technology offers companies the advantage of immediate access to real time data about drilling platforms and oil fields. This information is invaluable, and it will be a large predictor of company success in upcoming years. Cloud computing gives companies several advantages. Firstly, it gives company experts the ability to collaborate and make decisions very quickly. It also provides excellent data security, which is needed in an industry where correspondence and information is classified. This technology is also relatively affordable, and the amount of data needed can grow with a company or shrink when companies downsize. Companies like Obsidian, which has recently overhauled its entire business plan will benefit greatly from these factors. Cloud computing will undoubtedly remain a huge component of energy businesses’ daily operations.
Wearable technology for employees is another exciting area of development. Since 2010, the use of wearables has steadily increased, and this trend is expected to continue this year as well. This technology will provide a safer work environment for personnel, which will have many obvious benefits. Companies like Daqri are manufacturing wearables such as smart helmets and smart glasses, which can provide the wearer with augmented reality. This technology allows employees to work hands-free, which improves safety and ease of work. These devices can even allow workers to activate and use dials that are not within reach, using voice-activated technology. Companies like Obsidian will benefit greatly from investing time and research into the expansion of these products, as they improve safety and productivity.
Since 2014, lower oil prices have caused many energy companies, including Obsidian, to downsize and rethink their business models. Increased digitalization and technologies will continue to increase efficiency in the industry and are worth the time and money investment. Every company will need to evaluate which technologies can benefit them the most. It is clear, however, that the largest, most powerful companies will utilize most, if not all, of these growing trends. Robotics, 4D seismic technology, wearables, cloud computing, and mobility technology will continue to grow this year, and their utilization will likely predict the success of many companies in the industry. Whether Obsidian and other energy companies focus on improving safety conditions, efficiency, or the quality of their available data, one thing is for sure: it is an exciting time to work in the oil and gas industry.