Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution is having a phenomenal impact across every segment, and energy is no exception. Oil & Gas leaders need to embrace this digital disruption to capitalize on the intelligence, efficiencies and innovation that this transformation has proven to bring. This macro trend is the driver behind the majority of what I predict will shape 2019 priorities for IT and business managers within Oil & Gas.

  1. Embracing Cloud Across the Board:

From simulations to machine learning, edge applications are creating powerful insights into operations on a real-time basis. The power that private and hybrid clouds as well as cloud-based applications bring to the oilfield is undeniable. Leading organizations aren’t asking what applications should live in the cloud, they are assuming all should, and are working in reverse to identify any that are the exception. In fact, IDC reports that by 2019, 70% of upstream oil and gas organizations will have deployed a cloud-based platform to support applications such as land management and hydrocarbon accounting. By 2020, 100% of oil and gas companies will have invested more in cloud-deployed applications than in supporting or acquiring on-premise applications.

  1. IoT will take more concrete shape

The Oil and Gas supply chain is highly decentralized, complex and capital intensive. These can be motivators for embracing IoT devices, which can collect valuable information from exploration through distribution. Gaining data at the edge can translate to powerful intelligence about workflows, maintenance windows, personnel and adherence to regulations and policies. Oil and Gas companies will continue to deploy IoT in functional siloes but throughout 2019 will ramp to enable more workflows with IoT competencies, including rolling out assets with self-diagnosing capabilities. In 2019 more players, outside of the handful of majors like Exxon and Chevron, who are 2 of the United States top 15 companies investing in AI, will look to gather this data at scale and invest in research and development capabilities to turn that data into differentiating intelligence.

  1. The Race to Hire Talent

Like many other industries the talent profile within Oil and Gas is evolving, but for many oil and gas companies the evolution is moderate. The race to innovate, to adopt new technologies that streamline, automate, gather intelligence and transform business strategies will truly delineate the thrivers from the survivers. The traditional disciplines within Oil and Gas must be balanced with expertise in digital operations. But beware, this is not the only industry clamoring for the best data scientists, programmers and software engineers. In 2019 developing recruitment strategies as well as technology roadmaps outlining key partners, build vs. buy decisions and executive sponsored AI, blockchain and smart contract programs will become an elevated priority.

  1. Doubling Down on Innovation & Digitization

Oil and Gas companies have started to accelerate the pace of blockchain adoption, leveraging the technology to create visibility and efficiencies across workflows. Executives across some of the majors are also tasking their teams with making smart contracts a reality in 2019, and with the emergence of two disruptors in the space this challenge will become a reality. Digital ticketing platforms create real-time visibility and data points that are ingested by smart contract technologies powered by blockchain and when combined they promise to have a profound impact on operations. This is just one example of how companies will digitize operations in 2019, however industry analysts agree players must digitize and embrace digital solutions or lose out to more savvy competitors.

Innovation and digitization are the major themes for 2019 and likely the next few years to come, Industry 4.0 is here, it is exciting, and it will continue to revolutionize industries across the board. At ENGAGE we understand the transformative impact digitization can have on business and look forward to continuing our partnerships with majors, regional operators and service contractors on their transformation journey. Adoption of the digital oilfield finally has momentum behind it.

Join in on the conversation at the Propel Energy Tech Forum on February 6 &7, 2019 in Calgary.  ENGAGE is honored to be featured in the conference’s inaugural Startup Spotlight.


Rob Ratchinsky, CEO