The oil and gas industry experienced significant changes throughout 2020, from digital transformation to cloud migration. The industry has also seen an increase in safety and training technologies and, in relation to the current pandemic, a higher demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). With 2020 coming to a close, many businesses are left anticipating and gearing up for what 2021 has in store.
While many companies are either wondering what the future holds or looking for information, mobile field operations management and software solutions company, LiquidFrameworks, has already developed its expectations for 2021. CEO Travis Parigi shares his predictions on 2021, what trends will likely occur in the industry, and how the oil and gas industry can respond to these changes.
Like the rest of the world, the oil and gas industry has experienced a major shift in business operations due to COVID-19. As a result, companies will need to continue adjusting and revamping their practices in 2021 to accommodate the new reality. “Businesses have had to take operations online practically overnight. We will start to see companies embrace digital processes more in the upcoming year as a long-term operational adjustment rather than a short-term solution. In doing so, these companies will start to be more nimble, agile and responsive with the tools they are using and how they are conducting operations,” says Parigi.
He also highlights how paper processes once dominated operations in the oil and gas industry but, due to the current shift to digital processes, companies have begun pushing their workforce to use mobile capabilities such as phones or tablets for communication and process handling.
“In doing so, businesses are finding their processes accelerating more efficiently and effectively as digital communication is more productive for workers,” Parigi notes. With the continuous implementation of digital solutions, he predicts that we will see a stronger push for mobile tools and digital solutions across companies as a whole. “The companies that can successfully implement and execute this shift can and will be the ones who can use digital transformation as a competitive advantage in garnering business.”
With the significant drop in oil prices in the past, the industry has seen various companies undergo consolidation in the industry. With lower oil prices reoccurring in 2020, Parigi predicts that we will see “many companies throughout the world consolidating into bigger, broader reach companies to take advantage of the scaling opportunities across the globe. The businesses that used their digital transformation as an advantage with customers will coincide with the ones that are able to successfully consolidate the market and will provide a seamless transition into one large organization.”
Of all the predictions made for next year, Parigi believes the most critical trend will be digital transformation. “Adopting a full-fledged and continuous digital transformation will be crucial for the success of companies in the oil and gas industry now and in the future. Many companies will enable some change, such as requiring workers to use new tools like tablets in the field or software to keep track of invoices.” He notes that without proper training, implementation or full-fledged investment in employees using new means of operation, companies may likely revert to old habits, which could lead to negative consequences. “Companies that invest in digital transformation for the long term, even when the industry experiences difficult times, are the ones who will go on to be leaders.”
Parigi’s company, LiquidFrameworks, is at the forefront of these trends and is focused on implementing a successful digital transformation leading into 2021. “Remote and socially distant work is no longer a simple solution, but now a long-term practice,” Parigi says. “Companies are going to need to implement the proper tools and work processes to effectively carry out their daily operations while maintaining protocols. Our FieldFX technology is built to meet the needs of companies from streamlining communications to automating processes. We have many tools built into our platform that help to make this process as smooth as possible.”
During these unprecedented times, Parigi notes how the industry can utilize this time to review its overall processes, both digital and manual. “In doing so, [operators] can take advantage of new tools, processes and other means of operation that will best benefit their business. Oil and gas service companies, in general, have traditionally been slow to adopt new technologies and tools into their businesses. However, taking the time now to make necessary changes, such as implementing new technologies and workflow processes for the workforce, will ultimately pay off in the long run as operations resume to full force and the energy market recovers in the coming quarters.”
In response to industry changes due to COVID-19, LiquidFrameworks has focused on simplifying training and onboarding processes and developing more efficient education tools for oil and gas companies. “There is a pressure to quickly hire and train new employees, including but not limited to how to use equipment as well as what the workflow process looks like. This can ultimately lead to challenges when it comes to ramping up users and administrators using systems like FieldFX. At LiquidFrameworks, we are reducing the amount of work [businesses] need to do to get their people up to speed on the entire process, as well as providing the ability to scale and effectively respond to growth in the market. This includes delivering new educational tools that help our customers ramp up new employees from field to back office quickly and efficiently,” Parigi shares.
The biggest trend to watch for in the industry will be digital transformation. Along with a push for digital, there has been a steady integration of technology in the industry and, as Parigi mentions, we likely will see more technology implemented in 2021. He describes how the implementation of technology will cover “everything from mobile field operation software to data asset management and more. As technology is implemented into everyday operations, we will see more and more data being collected for companies to use. The good news is that systems are also getting smarter at analyzing and using data. As this information is compiled, we will see technology take advantage of the data and simplify it for end-users so that businesses can further adapt their processes and become more efficient, productive and reach their goals.”
Due to current events and society constantly evolving, the oil and gas industry, like many industries, will experience major shifts and, as Parigi predicts, will see a digital transformation in the coming year. He emphasizes how the move to modern technology is increasingly important for the industry, especially as it moves away from the traditional paper processes and face-to-face interactions.
“As companies have gone through a digital shift in 2020 to keep operations alive, this has created a jump start for organizations to adopt a true digital transformation for the long run. In 2021, we will see a more visible digital transformation take place where companies are investing in smart infrastructure that can sustain their operations now and into the future.”
Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.