The Way We See It: the Digital Oilfield

Electric Pilot on a well site

A global study by Deloitte found that the oil and gas industry is one of the last to arrive at what is called “digital maturity.” In our view there are two primary reasons for this: power and market conditions.

Power in the Digital Oilfield

The majority of well sites are not close to major metropolitan areas—they are remote operations. And when your site is out in West Texas or the in mountains of Colorado, it’s no small task to get electrical power to that equipment. And of course electricity is needed to allow your field equipment to communicate with your systems back at the office.

That said, it’s becoming increasingly clear that wide connectivity—even in West Texas—is coming rapidly, and we foresee a tipping point where digital becomes scalable.

Market Conditions and the Digital Oilfield

There is also a generational dynamic at work. Due to the boom and bust nature of our industry, innovation is not a steady climb upward to the right.

While oil and gas jobs were plenty for people coming of age in the 1950s, with the downturn of the 1970s it was not a viable option. So they found jobs in other industries, leaving innovation and product development in our industry relatively static.

In the last couple of decades oil has once again become a profitable industry to get into, and many millennials have gotten their start.

The young men and women now moving up into decision-making positions are increasingly digital natives who see the benefits of connectivity and the Internet of Things, and they are looking to bring those assets to bear to increase productivity and profitability for their companies. That said, because of the generation gap, the transition is going to be bumpy and will feel like a significant a leap forward for many companies that haven’t changed much in decades.

So What Does the “Digital Oilfeld” Look Like?

R2L Valvcon Package on a well site

This buzzword comes down to communication and data. Can your field communicate with your office in an ongoing way to maximize information and productivity?

We believe companies are going to have to define it for themselves and adapt their services and products around their definition and vision of the future.

We are researching and discussing the various ways Kimray has been and will be involved in this change.

So far we have released 5 electric products with digital communication capability:

We are seeing growing interest in these products among producers. We plan to continue trialing new technologies as we work to shape and harness our new digital tools.

Looking Forward

There is a large and undeniable shift taking place with the developments in oilfield technology. The entire energy supply chain is rippling with this change.

The market has recovered and investment in technologies is picking up. Products will continue to become more intelligent as will the delivery systems for those products.

While we all focus on getting lean, it’s also crucial for producers to keep one eye on the future. For those who who are able to look ahead, there is opportunity for significant gains on the horizon.

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