Using digital technologies to increase oil safety

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Even before the first quarter of 2021 got underway, the oil and gas industry had been involved in two major process safety events (PSE). Seven people were injured after a storage tank at a Magellan Petroleum facility caught fire and exploded in Texas, on 5 December 2020. Only a few days later, three contractors were injured when a storage tank exploded at National Petroleum Sea Lots compound in Trinidad. The oil and gas industry has always been one of the most hazardous fields. At times like this, when science is taking everything to another level, it is crucial for industries to use digital technologies to increase oil safety.

It is no doubt that safety has improved heavily in the industry, but recent incidents may make them even more crucial to change and move forward in the future, when it comes to compliance. In a time when legislators and regulators are placing increased pressure on the industry, working with digital technologies to increase oil safety may offer a solution. The digitalization of offshore activities presents opportunities for improving safety, making processes stickier, and helping workers fulfill their responsibilities

Rhonda Yoder, Chevron’s upstream general manager for HSE

For 30 years, it’s always been the same issue: How can we put systems and tools and information together to help people work safely? Now we’re changing the conversation. We’ve spent years building very strong management systems, but how do we make it easier for people to do the right thing and harder for people to do the wrong thing?

3 Safety Digital Technologies Trending in the Oil Industry

Although Oil and gas companies have been forced to rethink their strategies by the spread of corona virus, this new situation also offers them the chance to reassess their infrastructure, use digital technologies to increase oil safety and invest in tools that will propel them into the modern days. Here are the 7 trending technologies that have recorded the highest success in oil and gas industry:

1. Big data and analytics:

Big Data, defined as increasing volumes, types, and speeds of data, is a well-known concept in the oil and gas industry. It is clear that organizations cannot afford to be careless when it comes to drilling projects, which require tons of capital and heavy machinery. Due to this, more and more organizations are using big data to collect, analyze, and optimize their processes. Data research projects have covered applications in:

  • drilling
  • exploration
  • reservoir engineering
  • production engineering

Data analysis has been a major focus of innovation in the oil and gas industry over the last five years, with a view to improving safety and efficiency.

organizations are using big data to collect, analyze, and optimize their processes
Big data is used by organizations to analyze, collect, and optimize their processes

2. AI and machine learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term used to describe a variety of technological developments and applications including machines that learn and handle problems. From surveying and continuous monitoring to planning and forecasting, automatic intelligence and automation have numerous potential applications in the oil and gas industry. The use of autonomous robotics and automatic monitoring systems in high-risk environments such as offshore platforms and production facilities which can reduce the need for humans in these locations are great examples of using digital technology to increase oil safety.

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3. Edge computing and IoT

The ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT, describes the system of linking physical devices to the internet. In the oil and gas industry, IoT devices and sensors can deliver real-time data about storage, machinery, pipes, transportation, and worker safety. Using IoT technology in offshore equipment, enables employees to track elements that can enhance their efficiency, connectivity and safety, and prevent accidents; elements such as:

  • Equipment lifespan
  • Maintenance
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Wave heights


According to McKinsey, oil and gas companies still have a lot to learn about how to use new technologies in order to keep their people and environments safe. A greater use of digital technology not only contributes to greater health, safety, and the environment (HSE) but can also lead to a 20 percent decrease in capital expenditures and a 5 percent reduction in upstream operating costs for gas companies. By using analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technologies, we will reduce risk and keep people out of harm’s way. Learn about different digital tools at market and choose the best tools of digital technologies to increase oil safety.

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