Can oil and gas come around to big data?

Apr 27, 2016, 3:16 PM EDT
Jw McLean. (Source: Steven Straiton/flickr)
Jw McLean. (Source: Steven Straiton/flickr)

Most of the talk around big data and how it improves certain industries has focused on health care like disease control, urban development, and advertising opportunities. However, speculation about its role in the oil and gas industries is growing. As monolithic as those industries are, and as slow as they are to adopt new technologies, recent research points to the potential growth of big data in oil and gas — a likely byproduct of the swiftly changing energy markets around the world. 

In a report titled Global Big Data Market in the Oil and Gas Sector 2016-2020, Research and Markets forecasts the global big data market in the oil and gas sector to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30.67% during those four years. Thus far, oil and gas have relatively ignored the evolution of data-driven analysis, preferring to rely on legacy systems for operation. But as global energy markets shift, and alternative energy markets continue to build out in the global effort to steer away from fossil fuel reliance, oil and gas are looking for ways to improve efficiency. This is where big data comes in.

The report notes that one of the main drivers of big data analysis adoption in oil and gas is the sheer amount of data that those industries process. The legacy systems of old are no longer adequate for processing the volume of data involved in operations. Fossil fuel giants are struggling to find ways to improve efficiency and cut costs as competition rises. It states: 

“With the presence of a huge amount of data, enterprises need big data solutions to automatically track the performance and behavior of the information stored in their IT systems. Also, they require data analytics to develop innovative business strategies and improve their overall operational efficiency.”

Other industries have figured this out, including ones as corporate and extensive as fossil fuel big wigs. As Blouin News recently reported, American Express, Capital One, General Electric, and JP Morgan Chase have all heavily invested in big data, and have seen returns. And those companies are about as corporate and entrenched as they come in U.S. finance. As the oil and gas industries face new challenges in a world slowly gearing towards markets like wind and solar, they will find new ways to incorporate data processes, aiming above all to cut costs.

Watch a panel of experts discuss corporate governance and big data at the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit here.