If you visited Midland, TX today, it would look like the pandemic never happened. People are returning to their usual activities, and oil and gas (O&G) companies are back up and running. The industry has even started holding in-person events again. We’re a far cry from Spring 2020, when the world came to a screeching halt over the health concerns surrounding COVID-19.
As the world collectively began to emerge from the entire pandemic experience, we decided to assess some of the critical ways it impacted the O&G industry. Specifically, we want to shed light on four distinct changes that have propelled what we do in new and exciting directions.
The O&G industry has typically been resistant to new technology. Companies find what works for their immediate needs and stick with it for as long as possible — often far longer than necessary.
However, COVID changed that, since working from home forced us to leverage the virtual world even more. In an industry that’s always prided itself on being hands-on and in-person, we learned how to communicate over various digital platforms. We found ways to move projects and plans forward even though we couldn’t be in the office.
When some people start using new-fangled tools, they often quit when they can return to old practices. Thankfully, that didn’t happen for O&G companies. Now that we’ve embraced technology, it won’t stop. People want to learn more about technology than ever before.
COVID pushed O&G companies forward digitally and opened their minds to new ways of thinking. There is no doubt that cloud computing and artificial intelligence will become more prevalent and expand into other aspects of our work cultures. The industry will find other areas to introduce even more of the positive technological developments we discovered in the past year.
With the introduction of new technology from effective third-party outsourcing, energy companies realized their processes can become even more nimble. Not only did communication improve, but they also embraced the ability to streamline all manner of workflows across every level of their businesses.
Digital documentation is a superb example of this principle. The O&G industry has always loved its paper. But in a world where paper couldn’t be passed around the office, we had to find new solutions. With the implementation of digital file-sharing products and protocols, we reduced the reliance on paper documentation and in turn improved security and helped the environment.
With the efficiency improvements brought on by upgrading operations, energy companies recognized the slack and excess of the ‘old ways.’ Forward-thinking leaders realized that now was the time to take action and teach their businesses that they could do more with less.
For example, consultants used to have large travel budgets because most businesses wanted people on-site. Many companies curtailed such spending because people are comfortable with remote working. By lowering unnecessary expenditures, companies can instead invest in technology solutions that increase their overall effectiveness while still working with those outside experts.
People aren’t going back. Even the most set-in-their-ways oil workers learned that technology could help, not hinder. Companies quit working in traditional offices full-time and even sold office space. If the O&G industry can work from home virtually, anyone can.
So, is your company ready for the next unforeseen challenge? How comfortable are you with emerging technology? How fast can you adopt that technology? These are the questions you should be asking your employees, coworkers, or management.