In a commentary for CNBC, the CEO of the American multinational Emerson, David Farr, has written about how new technology will bolster the already surging US oil production.
Farr starts his commentary by describing how the US oil industry reacted to the crash in oil prices four years ago, when numerous smaller operators filed for bankruptcy and hundreds of thousands of energy workers lost their jobs. He describes how a few ingenious producers applied new technologies to improve efficiency and stay in business even at lower oil prices, putting them in an enviable position once prices began to recover.
The Emerson CEO believes this may just be the tip of the iceberg, however, and there are many more cost-saving opportunities for the industry to embrace. He partly puts this down to the industry’s previously slow adoption of digital technologies, when oil companies could still use existing methods and reap large profits from high oil prices.
As oil prices recover, he expects an increasing number of companies to follow the US shale success story and embrace innovations that make operations safer and more efficient and productive. Farr talks about the potential of big data, where numerous sensors can provide massive amounts of data that new software can then analyse and provide useful insights for producers to act upon. This reinforces the view of Thomas Halsey from ExxonMobil, the giant behind Mobil UK stockists, who last year compared the industry’s digital transformation to the development of horizontal drilling.