by Paul Tofan

Oil and Gas: Technology Play 4 Energy Transition

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Energy is a primary growing need, but when it comes to energy sources 'the choice' becomes 'a luxury'. Fossil-fuels are estimated to reach peak demand in 2030, and while renewables are on an accelerated path, we would still be on a 50%-50% mix in 2050.

Increased penetration of digital solutions across Oil and Gas industry drives efficiency and supports the energy transition. Technology is just as meaningful as the problem it solves, and the Oil & Gas duopoly has plenty of real good problems to solve.


This is how we got to attend an Oil and Gas conference, as a pure software services provider.

As part of our company portfolio strategy we aim for a customer base with a mix of 80-20, where 80% would be consisting of established players in their industry and 20% would be early stage startups. Ambrella is the result of a joint effort with a high-tech German sensor company, an IIoT platform for asset monitoring and prediction.

We already had a couple of pilots within the German chemical manufacturing landscape when we learned about @automa22. It piqued our interest to explore opportunities within a somehow similar industry (wide area industrial installations).


The part where I share about my personal bias with the industry.

There are certain ideas one makes about this industry and the people in it, even more when it comes to the dilemmas around oil. When I was in university I assumed that if you're driven by making big money you should be in big oil - this year in particular..

Before arriving at the conference I was expecting a conservative industry, with its constituents torn between the market pressure for profitability increases, environmental, social and governance reports. The volatility of the industry given the recent events like COVID, Ukraine war and the foreseeable dawn of fossil fuels sets up an interesting premise for imagining the digitalisation opportunities of the sector.

First impressions

Suits, suits, suits, there were suits everywhere, and I felt like in high school when I had to enter the teachers' lounge.

More engineers than presenters, with a few exceptions, people were so taken with their topic that they had to read their entire presentations from the scripts - and some slides were literally presentation antipatterns

On a 2nd thought

There is increased interest in "security by design" solutions. With the increased importance and reliance on energy for human and economic development there comes the risk of weaponizing it and sabotaging the vulnerabilities in the system. New battlegrounds open up and solutions like satellite based infrastructure monitoring get more appeal.

Likewise, there is a growing opportunity in decentralization facilitated by micro plants and smart technologies. From monitoring drones and robots to enterprise hybrid blockchain solutions there is a wide array of technology options to drive sustainability and operational performance.

There is a different degree of penetration of digital solutions within the market, and some market players are very good at employing technology, for some, like Repsol, with concrete results in each of the business lines:

I was particularly impressed by the operational manager of OMV's digitalization program. She highlighted important principles when dealing with the challenges of managing profitability and a digitalization roadmap at the same time, like:

  • Make sure ownership of Digitalization initiatives is clear & linked to “Cost/Benefits Accountability”
  • Catch the right moment for building architecture that enables “Scaling & Cross Functional Use”
  • Never forget that “Cash-in” starts from applying digitalization, not from creating tools & processes

She also highlighted that many times there is a language barrier between the management accepted benefits and the actual uses cases. While I'm not a fan of the chosen color scheme, the graphic itself did made a lot of sense:

The participation experience felt very real, in terms of facing real needs, markets figuring out significant challenges, risks and opportunities. Overall the entire conference was well organized, probably the best in terms of setting up agenda, expectations, ensuring the attendees are properly engaged and guided to network and make the best of it. Congratulations to the BGS group for the professional setup.

Closing in with some actionable thoughts

  • OSDU Data platform - is picking up in terms of adoption and is probable the platform on which to build and deploy apps targeted towards the industry. It's open aspect helps reusability and marketization in the industry.

  • IIoT Monitoring and Prediction - is an increased need, driven by already aging assets and new technical capabilities in terms of data gathering and pattern extraction that drives decision-making and intervention models.