Regardless of what your energy preference may be, everyone can agree on the fact that the oil and gas profession is feeling the heat as a result of low energy prices. Thankfully for the industry there is a new presence at the boardroom table which is providing some bright ideas and decision-making certainty to this lucrative but somewhat volatile industry.
Along with the defence and utilities sectors, the oil and gas sector has always been the home of the geospatial world. Today, the technology and geospatial data continues to underpin decision-making in the upstream and midstream sectors of project planning, construction and asset management.
Based on a recent article published by McKinsey and Company about the three categories of digital technologies which are transforming the industry there appears to be an interesting shift taking place. The industry, like the technology, is beginning to mature and tools like GIS are being integrated with the field's data analytics capabilities. As per the following quote:
Digital-enabled marketing and distribution: "Retailers in other industries have implemented digital technologies to gain a better understanding of consumer habits and preferences, optimize pricing models, and manage supply chains more efficiently. Oil companies are applying these same methods, with impressive results, potentially increasing revenue by up to 1.2 percent. By using geospatial analytics, for example, executives are increasing the efficiency of their supply and distribution networks through location planning and route optimization. Collectively, efforts in this category have lowered costs by up to 10 percent and increased revenue by 3 percent."
Geospatial technology is no-longer just concerned with the location of natural resources, existing and proposed infrastructure and environmentally and culturally sensitive areas. It is now also being used by the corporate decision-maker in order to make better marketing, business and investment choices.
It will be interesting to see how the GIS profession interacts with the corporate decision-making function of oil and gas companies in the future. Will the GIS professional now be called the geospatial business analyst or will the data or business analyst now become corporate cartographer?....What types of tools and systems will be used in these departments?....Will they use open-source or proprietary software? Will the software and data be located on-premise or will it be cloud based?....Will these decision-making tools be integrated with corporate IT and/ or asset management systems or will it just be a simple locked down visualisation solution?....Who will manage the geospatial team and what will the dress-code be?
Regardless of the what the answers may be, the fact that management consultants such as McKinsey and Company are promoting geospatial analytical capabilities is a great sign for the once largely misunderstood technology and skillset. Meanwhile, for the oil and gas industry, a geospatial presence should help lower the boardroom temperature and help ensure that time and money is saved for the more important things in life.