44%

have deployed IIoT to some extent

Meeting the energy needs of tomorrow

The energy industry is in an unprecedented state of transformation. Ever-increasing pressure from governments, consumers and activists to reduce non-renewable energy consumption and humanity’s impact on the environment is putting revenues, profits and margins under severe strain. With renewable energy uptake accelerating and innovations like electric vehicles gaining mainstream attention, traditional oil and gas businesses face an uncertain future.

The sector undoubtedly has a great deal to gain by harnessing smart technologies such as IIoT, which promises to help it increase outputs and profitability. However, our research suggests that while pockets of the industry – chiefly the distribution end of the market – are progressing well towards IIoT, the majority of respondents are closer to the start of their journey.

WHAT IS THE ENERGY SECTOR’S OVERALL IIOT READINESS? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

WHAT IS THE ENERGY SECTOR’S OVERALL IIOT READINESS? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

Fuelling transformation

The energy exploration and extraction businesses that were surveyed in the report are still in the early stages of their IIoT adoption and deployment. While many are at the trial stage (33 and 43 per cent respectively), just 3 per cent of extraction and exploration businesses have fully deployed IIoT, as opposed to 14 per cent from those organisations focused on distribution, which should come as little surprise, given the growth of smart metering in the consumer end of the market.

That aside, respondents from all sections of the market clearly recognise the opportunities that IIoT presents.

Where IIoT has been implemented, energy companies are primarily seeing the benefits in areas such as improved health and safety, environmental sustainability and efficiency. While this is encouraging progress, the sector must focus on developing new streams of revenue and improving the profitability of production, if they are to gain the full benefits of IIoT.

In the exploration phase, IIoT can help accelerate and enhance seismic data acquisition and analysis to improve production performance, leading to the faster extraction of gas or oil.

 

In the extraction and drilling process, IIoT can enable real-time process monitoring, predictive maintenance and automation, reducing the number of staff needed on site to monitor production equipment.

Energy distributors build and operate vast networks of pipelines, from which they can gather datasets to monitor the integrity of pipes and deploy a rapid response if they detect a leak, through pressure monitoring sensors. IIoT sensors can also help to optimise supply and demand forecasting, as well as pipeline operations.

 

While energy distributors are making good progress towards a more digitally-enabled future, upstream energy producers are lagging behind

Powering up energy security

While this progress is encouraging, some projects are delivering their intended results. A chronic lack of skills still pervades the industry, in part due to the cuts to staffing levels that were made during recent leaner years, which must be overcome if the energy sector is to make best use of IIoT.

Another key roadblock to successful IIoT deployments is security. While some energy businesses are rightly concerned by the threat of kidnappings or piracy attacks, which IIoT can play a role in deterring, the respondents clearly see the threat of IIoT networks exposing energy infrastructure to the malicious intent of cybercriminals or hostile state actors.

A brighter future

Creating a more connected industry could bring radical improvements to health and safety and environmental sustainability, while opening up new revenue generation opportunities that will enable energy businesses to ride the volatility of a fluctuating production prices.

However, the rate at which this leaner, greener and cleaner industry emerges is contingent on how effectively energy companies can overcome their challenges.

34%

have already improved their environmental sustainability through IIoT

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE RESEARCH, DOWNLOAD THE REPORT – INDUSTRIAL IOT ON LAND AND AT SEA: ENERGY

RESEARCH DEMOGRAPHICS

The energy findings in this research project are based on responses from 125 senior IIoT decision-makers from businesses with over 500 employees in the sector. Respondents were taken from the three key stages of the energy supply chain: exploration businesses engaged in the process of trying to find oil and natural gas beneath the earth’s surface; extraction businesses that recover oil and gas reserves for processing and use for commercial products; and distribution companies that distribute energy services for commercial and consumer usage, in the form of either hydrocarbons or electricity.

The research focused on businesses in the EMEA, Americas and APAC regions, though the majority came from the USA, China, India and Canada, enabling us to identify key differences in IIoT adoption between these territories.

 

 

 

 

 

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