The Impact of Digitalisation on Employment in the Oil and Gas Industry: Event Summary

As part of its energy talk series, Access for Women in Energy (AccessWIE) organised a seminar on the impact of digitalisation on the oil and gas industry, with a special focus on employment, on 11 October 2018. S&P Global Talent Acquisition hosted the event at their offices in Canary Wharf in London.

The digital revolution has entered every sphere of modern existence, and the oil and gas sector is not an exception. Powerful new technologies have upgraded or overtaken old ones, opening out new opportunities and improving operational efficiencies, barely imaginable a few decades ago. The entire hydrocarbon industry, like many others, is adapting and innovating at a breath-taking rate and many argue that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), in particular, are going to exceed everyone’s expectations in the next five years.

The seminar gathered leading experts in this field, from the industry, academia and technology providers, namely:

  • Ron Beck, Industry Marketing Director at Aspen Technology, who covered the most important digital technologies transforming the operations of the oil and gas industry and what they mean for organisations and employment.
  • Linda van Leeuwen, Analytics Lead, Lubricants Supply Chain at Shell, who shared the experience of Shell with digital technologies.
  • Lydia Rainforth, Managing Director, European Energy Equity Research at Barclays, examined productivity in the energy sector and the potential impact of digitalisation in this sphere.
  • Paul Markwell, Vice President, Upstream Oil & Gas Research and Consulting at IHS Markit, discussed the emergence of advanced analytics and how low carbon solutions can help attract new talents to the industry.
  • Dr Clare Bond, Senior Lecturer at School of Geosciences, Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, University of Aberdeen, talked about how the university is adapting to the digital needs, by developing new programmes and tools tailored to graduate skilled data managers.

The speakers – Top from left to right: Ron Beck, Linda van Leeuwen and Lydia Rainforth. Bottom: Paul Markwell and Dr Clare Bond.

The discussion started with welcoming remarks from David Ernsberger, Global Head of Energy Market Reporting at S&P Global, who highlighted the commitment of S&P Global to diversity, adding that the digital innovation in energy raises critical questions as the industry keeps on reinventing itself and the impact of such technological changes on employment has drawn a major interest from various stakeholders.

David Ernsberger, Global Head of Energy Market Reporting at S&P Global.

Dr Carole Nakhle, CEO of Crystol Energy and Director of AccessWIE, chaired the discussion, making timely observations such as more and more students and professionals are moving into the renewable sector as they perceive the oil and gas industry as outdated and dying. She added, however, that if one looks at the investments oil and gas companies are making in developing and applying latest technologies, including digitalization, one can see that the industry is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Dr Carole Nakhle, Director of AccessWIE, and Lord David Howell, Co-Chairman of AccessWIE.

Lord Howell, former Secretary of State for Energy in the UK and co-chairman of AccessWIE, concluded the discussion, stating that the energy industry has an image problem. He asked whether AI and analytics will help not only in changing this perception but also in attracting both new talents and investments. Lord Howell concluded that it is critical for the energy sector to be part of the digital transformation but cautioned against the vulnerability of the industry to cyberattacks especially that energy is seen as central to national security.

To read the summary of the discussion click here.

The Q&A session

The networking reception

Related Analysis

The Digital Energy Company: An Evening at Canary Wharf in London Provides Insight”, Ron Beck, Oct 2018

Technological Innovation Creates New Opportunities in Oil & Gas”, Dr Carole Nakhle, Oct 2018

New Technological Frontiers in the Oil & Gas Industry”, Dr Carole Nakhle, Sep 2018