How Technology Continues to Impact the Oil & Gas Industry

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From the earliest refining processes to modern offshore rigs and pipeline tools, the story of oil and gas development goes hand-in-hand with technological development. How we find, extract, process, and transport resources have changed over time with new industry developments—and now the industry is going through yet another transformation: a digital overhaul. New tools including artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) are revolutionizing the industry’s safety and efficiency.

No matter what lens you approach it from, modernization can benefit your oil and gas operations. With the right tools, workers become more productive and businesses save money. Innovative techniques also reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels and keep workers and communities safer.

Let’s explore the myriad ways digital transformation is uplifting the oil and gas industry to meet the modern moment.

State of Oil and Gas Technology: Embracing Digital Transformation

After decades of development, technology for the oil and gas industry is now focusing on digital transformation to tighten and expedite operations, taking older manual processes and automating them with IT. Computers work faster, more accurately, and more affordably than humans on many tasks. It’s therefore an economic imperative to automate what one can, leaving only the higher-value creative tasks for humans.

Data is a critical resource in the modern economy, joining oil and gold, and other resources. Digital transformation has become necessary not only for oil and gas companies but for all businesses to survive, as an organization that hinges on data and digital tech is simply more agile. Processes that used to take weeks—such as detecting leaks in pipelines—can now be completed in hours. Instead of sending an entire team to inspect a large area, AI can quickly identify problems.

As technology becomes more nuanced, we will only see more and more of it integrated across industries. Let’s look at some ways technology like smart PIGs, UAVs, and IoT are assisting oil and gas already.

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Smart PIGs in Pipelines

A pipeline inspection gauge (PIG), as the name implies, is a standard device for making measurements inside a pipeline. Smart PIGs take this a step further, processing information on the mechanical condition of the pipeline right away—making it possible to inspect the pipelines remotely and without interrupting the product flow. But while this technology has evolved over recent years, it still cannot monitor pipelines as effectively as aerial data.

Better Aerial Data for Oil and Gas Facilities

Aerial data comprises imagery recorded from UAVs flying overhead. These unmanned aerial vehicles can see refineries, offshore rigs, pipelines, flare stacks, and other assets from above, covering much more area than one could see from the ground.

SkyX’s UAV data solution also pairs well with other technologies such as AI. Data from the UAVs feeds into the insight engine to fuel digital transformation; rather than lumbering through manual inspections, you’ll have constant, automatically-processed pipeline data.

IoT for Oil and Gas

The internet of things (IoT) includes networked devices that collect and analyze data. These may be vehicles, wearables, or other hardware containing the appropriate electronics. IoT sensors can help with exploration and production, pipeline maintenance, and fleet management, producing immense amounts of helpful data.

The Future of Oil and Gas Industry: Embracing Full Digital Transformation

As far as the oil and gas industry has come, the road to digital transformation is long and winding. More functionality is always coming online to assist companies in streamlining operations. While the oil and gas industry is known for its stodginess, the rapid pace of technological advance will sink laggards—while leaders will rise by embracing the future.

Economic pressure will continue to push businesses towards the efficiency gains of innovation. Additionally, the industry has to improve its environmental performance, which is again aided by technology—in this case, advancements such as digital twins, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Let’s take a closer look.

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Modernizing Oil and Gas Infrastructure With Digital Twins

A digital twin is a modeled replica of a system, which can include data such as schematics and operating instructions. The digital twin makes it simple for personnel to quickly examine any asset and understand its use. From hardware design through operation and maintenance, digital twins make processes faster and safer. And in addition to helping staff manage equipment, digital twins enable skills sharing between teams.

Continued Adoption of AI and ML for Efficient Operations

AI and its popular sub-type machine learning (ML) are busy revolutionizing many industries. These information processing techniques accelerate operations by step in to fill roles that hitherto, only humans could handle.

As an example, SkyX is planning to employ AI and ML to search through massive troves of aerial data on pipelines for anomalies. The technology works far more efficiently than a human team, enabling oil and gas companies to discern the exact status of their pipeline networks quickly.

Robots Will Continue to Evolve in the Oil and Gas Industry

New robots are accruing an ever greater range of functions to perform. Increasingly we’ll see robotic emergency services, inspections, and yes, aerial data collection. Oil and gas companies can already monitor their right of way for illegal excavation and other activities.

Robots complement artificial intelligence, both making processes more efficient to drive growth, and can also increase safety by doing jobs too dangerous for humans.

Profit from Digital Transformation with SkyX

Central to digital transformation is the data allowing you to analyze assets. Insights from new technology make it far more efficient to track pipelines; UAV aerial data seen by artificial intelligence works faster than rolling out expensive teams.

SkyX has the premier solution for oil and gas companies to track assets from above. The comprehensive service includes UAVs and their licensing and operation, as well as AI-powered data analysis—freeing your time and resources to focus on what you do best. Book a demo to see how SkyX can enhance your oil and gas operation’s efficiency today!

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