The Oil & Gas sector means a lot to me. Despite being an environmental tree hugger, it is where I started my career (Shell Kittiwake), and it is a sector I have often consulted to over the years. I have always marveled at the precision and accuracy of upstream activities from exploration and design through to production. You can’t get these things wrong; if you do, it is a disaster. The engineers in the sector are the best in the world; everyone works hard and, in my experience, are proud of their work. But one area that doesn’t work well in Oil & Gas is Information Management. Or to be more accurate, it works well at a localized level; document and data control practices, for example, are typically tight and well managed. But just as each oil and gas deposit is a literal silo of energy, information management is similarly siloed, and those silos are massive.
What that means in practice is that information is not shared. Instead, it is inaccessible, knowledge locked in place, and all too often, money spent to find things out that somebody already knows. The problem extends to the inability of the industry to accurately predict demand and correlate demands to production. Many of those problems are hidden to the outside world, but the public jerk and often clumsy responses to market and price fluctuations are public indicators that all is not well.
This year we spent time researching and talking to experts in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the US. The result is this new report Oil & Gas: Mitigate Future Disruptions with an Intelligent Supply Chain. The report is free to access, and we hope you take the time to read it and provide us any feedback you may have.
But the report is not the end of our oil & gas journey, for many of the findings and recommendations here are equally valid in any supply chain situation. Decades of IT investment and development have brought us to a fork in the road, do we carry on the same way or do we take a step back and radically reimagine how things could work better in the future? Many years of good intentions, but little overall strategy has left us with disconnected information silos and clunky business processes that require endless workarounds. At the same time, we have amassed an enormous amount of valuable data and a slew of hard-knock lessons. New technology is available today to fix many of these legacy problems, but more than to repurpose and leverage data and knowledge in new and exciting ways. It’s a given that oil and gas will make more use of AI, Blockchain, and Intelligent Process Automation tools in the future, then the question remains whether the sector will use these new tools as band-aids or as the building blocks to transform the industry. I hope that if you recognize the issues detailed in the report, we might work with you to help resolve them
Having worked in the sector for many years, I have immense respect for those that spend each day working in oil & gas. I hope that enough momentum builds for the industry as a whole, or at least significant chunks of it, to be brave and take some radical steps toward transforming it to be more efficient, cost-effective, and beneficial.
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