Oil and gas companies bear a unique responsibility in providing the raw power all other companies need to function. When a disaster occurs, there is an outward ripple effect that significantly impacts numerous stakeholders. It is critical for oil and gas companies to maintain proper functioning even in the face of disastrous events and essential that they use every available technology to do so.
The Rise of Public Information and Artificial Intelligence
As technology has advanced to include hand-held devices, easily accessible wifi, and multiple social media platforms, large-scale, web-based, public sharing of information has grown exponentially. Datasets providing weather predictions, earthquake seismic activity or flight patterns are readily available at the tap of a screen and can potentially provide insights that inform mission-critical business and operational activities for oil and gas companies. But the volume of information can also present a challenge. If, in the face of an impending disaster, companies are unable to wade through the vast amount of reporting available in a timely manner, they run the risk of failing to identify the all-important first indicators. That’s where AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies can have profound impact.
Each oil and gas company has its own self-defined and layered security approach, utilizing different forms of information within its overall risk management process. In-house teams uniquely understand their own specific operating environments and plan accordingly for those disruptive events that are foreseeable based on local factors. For example, a company with operations in multiple countries may find it necessary to be on heightened alert in locations where elections are underway. For companies with U.S. operations on the East and Gulf coasts, hurricane season brings the possibility for enormous business impact from storm-related events.
In responding to scenarios like these, speed and quality of information gathering are the ultimate critical success factors. AI technology that delivers information in real time and provides important context in gaining a full understanding of a developing situation has significant meaning for oil and gas companies. A service like Dataminr has the ability to unearth relevant signals from social media and publicly available information sources and alert its customers as an event is happening in real time. Moment-in-time specificity opens a virtual window, affording unmatched insight into events taking place on the ground – whether its commentary, pictures or video. All the pieces are evaluated in context with one another to provide corporate crisis management and security teams a more comprehensive view of events that can lead to better informed business decisions.
Once a disaster is identified, there are clearly defined escalation protocols to initiate and crisis management plans to implement. Senior management teams need to convene as quickly as possible to begin the carefully coordinated corporate response. Business leaders from every department – health and safety, legal, internal/external communications, operations and finance – combine their individual areas of expertise to collectively decide how to address the issue. How rapidly this happens correlates to the ultimate speed with which the company is able to respond. AI technology-backed, real-time alerts have the ability provide the first indications of impending disasters relevant for oil and gas companies, giving an invaluable gift of time when marshalling internal resources.
With the crisis identified, and a united senior team assembled, the company can initiate its response plan. Assets need to be quickly secured; whether its ground transportation to an airport, seats on the last commercial flight out of an area or resource procurement for sheltering in place, these actions need to be taken both swiftly and decisively, and backed by the best possible information. When the initial tumult of the disruption dies down, attention immediately turns to business continuity.
Oil and gas companies are vulnerable to any number of disasters which have the potential to cripple fundamental operations. Response formulation is entirely dependent on the speed with which information can be gathered. AI technology can be used to deliver real-time alerts, ensuring companies get notified of major events as they happen, allowing for fast and effective response with as little business disruption as possible.
Tim Willis is Director, EMEA Corporate Security Sales for Dataminr, a technology platform that creates real-time, actionable breaking news alerts from public social media activity. Dataminr’s powerful algorithms instantly transform all publicly available Twitter data and other public datasets into alerts that enable security, operations, financial & communications professionals to be alerted to critical information as events unfold. Prior to joining Dataminr, Tim spent over ten years in a variety of corporate security roles across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
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.