Major Owner-Operators Embracing Big Data and IIoT, but Independent E&Ps Need to See Value – Is Effective Messaging the Real Problem or is it Just Basic Human Nature?

ARC holds a strong belief that there is real value in companies investing in Big Data and IIoT enabled solutions to improve their operational effectiveness in upstream, midstream, and/or downstream oil & gas operations.  ARC also realizes that some market segments can be more conservative in embracing new technologies even though said new technologies will provide multiple returns for each dollar invested.

A recent study by GE and Accenture said only 31% of oil and gas companies regard big data as a top priority. This is on a par with the power generation sector but lower than in the aviation and wind power industries, which measure 61% and 45%, respectively.  Although effective data management can mean big savings for operators, less than a third of firms currently regard it as a priority, according to the report.

Innovative new analytics tools are providing more effective data recording and sharing, but these services can come with a steep price tag, a challenge given current low oil prices.  Data tools allow operators to identify unexploited oil wells and provide more control and less operational down time, but thus far the oil and gas majors have thus far been the main buyers of data management services.

Part of the challenge of slow adoption may fall with some supplier’s inability to more effectively market and message the benefits obtained from investing in Big Data and IIoT enabled solutions.  ARC recommends companies develop case studies or user success stories that highlight the tangible benefits of leveraging new technology, even if there were some challenges along the way and lessons to be learned, the more likely barriers of resistance (in many cases based on misconceptions) to adoption will be diminished.

Part of the challenge of slow adoption probably deals with basic human nature and some people’s inability to fully embrace change of any kind, even if that change is for the better.  As the level of adoption of Big Data and IIoT begins to grow over time, ironically, it will reach a point at which the fear of being left behind by the rest of the pack will drive even greater adoption.  From our vantage point, that can only be a good thing.