• Oil in the 2010s: Innovations

Measurement and Testing

Oil in the 2010s: Innovations

Jan 04 2020

The past decade has been huge for oil and gas, with new trends and technologies reshaping the face of the industry. From digitalisation and AI to eco-friendly fracking, read on for a glimpse of the biggest innovations of the 2010s.


Over the past decade digitalisation has become a well-established trend within the oil and gas industry. “By adopting artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), some have experienced exceptional performance gains,” says Simon Cushing, a Senior Director Analyst at Gartner.

The advent of AI

The last 10 years have seen oil and gas companies embrace artificial intelligence as a lucrative tool for boosting both operational and business performance. From recognising patterns and analysing images to processing data and augmenting reality, AI solutions are now leveraged by the world's top oil and gas majors. For example, AI is now used to predict equipment outages which can eliminate loss of productivity and boost bottom lines.

Automation to minimise human intervention

Following disasters like Deepwater Horizon, a reenergised focus was placed on the need for automation to minimise human intervention and mitigate some of the risks associated with the oil and gas industry. Unsurprisingly, robots have played a central role in the advent of automation. While automation is helping to mitigate risks, the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) also warns it could amplify the skills crisis and have a negative impact on jobs.

Disruptive business models

The latest data from Gartner suggests that as many as 30% of oil and gas companies are now using disruptive business models to develop more aggressive goals and augment bottom lines. This trend has seen oil and gas companies shift away from traditional IT services and champion more innovative approaches.

Fracking becomes cheaper and more eco-friendly

In 2019 researchers at the University of Kansas were awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to develop a new technology to reduce the cost and environmental impact of fracking. It sees sand-grain-sized "smart microchip proppants" injected into shale reservoirs to help operators visualise fracture networks and augment precision. "The impact would be transformational," says Masoud Kalantari, a University of Kansas assistant professor who worked on the project.

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