Houston — Ninety percent of oil and gas executives agree that investment in technology and workforce are essential to surviving current market conditions, according to a new EY survey: Oil and Gas Digital Transformation and the Workforce Survey 2020. In fact, 58% said the COVID-19 pandemic has made investing in digital technology more urgent, with a majority planning to invest a great deal (29%) or moderate amount (51%) relative to their total budget.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the timeline for some digital technology adoption from five years to three months,” said Andy Brogan, EY Global Oil & Gas Leader. “The cost savings digital can deliver is critical for survival in today’s low-price environment, as oil and gas companies look to gain greater operational efficiencies and drive productivity across the value chain. However, to capture the full value of these investments, oil and gas companies need the skills to harness and use the technology to its maximum potential.”
Technology does not use itself, addressing skill gaps linked to future success
According to the survey, nearly half (46%) of companies, on average, do not have the skills within their current workforce to realize the investment on their adopted technologies. Companies recognize a lack of maturity in many skills around digital technologies they have deemed as critical — on average, the gap between importance and maturity is 36%. For instance, the increasing availability of data analytics and insights was cited by 43% of executives as one of the top three trends that will positively impact their company’s business growth in the next three years. Yet, the gap between strategic importance and maturity of key skills was one of the widest on data analytics at 59%.
“The sector is now in a critical period in which the role of technology will only accelerate, the volume of data will only grow and competition for talent will only increase,” said Tim Haskell, US Oil & Gas People Advisory Services Leader, Ernst & Young LLP (EY US). “The challenge for oil and gas is immediate. It’s not enough for companies to simply spend more on technology. Investment in the workforce is needed to scale and integrate technologies and ultimately capture the intended value. Companies must find an investment balance while addressing market pressures. Otherwise, the industry will lose crucial years and potentially a generation of workers.”
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.