Top Oil Companies Looking At Smarter Ways To Tackle Crude Price Crisis

Shell’s oil and gas terminal on Bonny Island in southern Nigeria’s Niger Delta. Photo credit: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/GettyImages

Top oil and gas companies are exploring the possibility of employing smarter technologies to cut costs and overcome the challenges that surfaced following deep slide in crude prices.

Total, Chevron, Shell and Statoil are experimenting with various technologies from data management, drones and drill design, to slash costs in a bid to safeguard the infrastructure that will allow them to compete and grow when the crude prices recover.

Total, French oil and gas major, is now using drones to conduct detailed inspections on some of its oil fields, while Norwegian company, Statoil, which has cut its development costs, savings have largely been made by focusing on the most efficient technology and designs.


Anglo-Dutch major Shell, on the other hand, has developed a new type of pipe to carry oil and gas from its deepwater Stones field in the Gulf of Mexico for processing. The company said innovations at Stones had played a significant part in cost savings.

Chevron is using a robotic device to clean and check the inside of pipelines on their Erskine field which has helped raise the field's daily production rate to the highest in two years. Canaccord Genuity oil and gas equity analyst Alex Brooks said technology innovation in the industry was about "100 tiny things", adding: "The bottom line is you end up with a much lower cost."

Another way oil majors are looking to cut costs is by using their vast amounts of data to better predict their needs. Since the crude price slump, companies including Shell, ExxonMobil and Statoil have started using software that can better manage their data to cut wastage in the ordering of construction materials.

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