The Competitive Advantages of Robotic Process Automation In Oil & Gas Industry

CXO THOUGHTS
Dave-Head-Shot-2 The Competitive Advantages of Robotic Process Automation In Oil & Gas Industry
David Crawley, Professor of Practice, University Of Houston College Of Technology

The Pace of RPA Inspiration

Doug Hall, CEO of Eureka Ranch – the original pioneer of the innovation marketplace, bluntly addresses the issue of the most critical aspect of innovation adoption, “change is hard”(1). Nevertheless, as technology leads the way of industry, the prompt pace of competition, and demands for optimized Profit and Loss causes more companies to explore or adopt Robotic Process Automation (RPA).  So dynamic is the inspiring potential that recent reports indicate a surge in RPA demand to eliminate manual time-consuming business processes. Automation (RPA) Market size is set to exceed USD 5 billion by 2024(2). A recent Gartner analysis highlighted RPA as a renaissance of efficiency that will lower operational costs by 30% (3). Robotic Process Automation software revenue grew 63.1% in 2018 to $846 million, making it the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software industry according to Gartner, Inc. (4).

In other words, change is happening… regardless.

Markets of Adoption

In a recent report by Grand View Research on the Global RPA Market Share, the primary markets of adoption for RPA technology are repetitive process intensive.  Which makes sense for these industries to embrace RPA capabilities: Banking Financial Services and Insurance, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Retail, and Telecom (5).

RPA Is A Strategic Business Advantage

However, many organizations are not going beyond RPA as a lean discipline.  In many instances, RPA is a strategic advantage to accelerate resource distribution. RPA delivers a competitive advantage that allows organizations to escalate speed to competent decisions, eliminate choke points of information flow, purge decision redundancy, and increase deployment of assets.   For example, an overlooked market of opportunity for RPA is the oil and gas industries.

The Need For Speed: An RPA Oil and Gas Imperative

Urban growth is putting unprecedented pressures on metropolitan infrastructures. 68% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN. (6) Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. (6)   The International Energy Agency estimated several years ago that in 2030 primary energy demand would reach 17,010 million tons of oil equivalent(7). As population density increases so does the need to advance productivity.  Knowledge-based economies are recognized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as the primary driver of population-based productivity and commercial growth (8). As countries and industries continue to embrace digital economic structures, they will rely more on power to increase efficiencies and distribution. Commerce from local to global will reach unprecedented competitive levels in the next 10 to 20 years. This increase in local to transglobal competition will parallel population growth and – in turn — increase the need for energy assets. 

Change is inevitable… regardless.

As a result, energy companies are under growing pressure to develop new profitable plays, or enhance existing plays, to keep revenue flow and competitive advantages at peak levels. However, the current exploration & production along pre-drill decision value chain does not support compressing time to market. Because, in most instances it is comprised of traditional methods of operations, technology, and repetitive decision cycles for gathering and evaluating information and risk.

The Competitive Advantages of Robotic Process Automation

The vale chain of upstream decisions to drill is a complicated and costly process. As a result, the traditional period to go through the cycles of review before a decision to drill can take anywhere from a year and a half to 3 years… or longer. It involves the gathering of repetitive information from a minimum of 9 discreet silos of overlapping job functions that represent the drill team.  All of the drill team members interact in a redundant process of milestones.  In many cases, personnel changes and resource slippage occur and data is lost or misappropriated.  The process is fraught with scenarios that often initiate timeline spillage which cause unnecessary cycles to take several months to complete. Thus causing delay in the next approval step.  These delays instigate missed opportunities from market movement developments.

Reducing redundancy by automating the collection, management, and disseminating information in a timely manner is possible through RPA. RPA can also help parties to deliver or act on information in an efficient manner to keep the practice fluid. Through an RPA platform, critical information is gathered, retained and disseminated among different multiple decision makers throughout the process.  This enables decision makers to retrieve data relevant to their role throughout the procedures.  Thereby helping to encourage informed decision making at the time of need. Which in turn, helps accelerate the cycles to make assessments that are more reliable. As a result, the ability to leverage RPA innovation along the value chain of reservoir resource and extraction has the potential to reduce risk and increase speed to drill by up to 30%.  With increased speed to market, RPA can help satisfy demand while improving competitive position.  Most importantly, it supports realizing millions of dollars in revenue actualization.