Over the last decade, the Oil and Gas industry has seen its fair share of fluctuation. These ups and downs have taught many businesses how to tighten their budgets, evaluate their own processes and workforce, and make every resource count. It has also shown a light on the importance of investing in proper technology upfront instead of relying on quick-fix solutions. This is where custom software development comes in to play.
Many of the advantages (and disadvantages) of employing custom development are already known – but how does this particular service apply to the Oil and Gas industry? How is it essential for the operations of this Energy giant? Let’s explore.
1. Oil and Gas companies must comply with complex regulations.
The Energy industries – including Electric Utilities and Renewable Energy like solar and wind – all must comply to a certain level of regulations imposed upon them by federal and state laws within the United States. The Oil and Gas industry in particular is held to standard by federal, state, and local laws that govern various aspects of Oil and Gas operations. These laws seek to enact safe practices, protect land owners, and minimize environmental impact. A taste of the regulations with which Oil and Gas companies must comply include:
Exploration and production, both state and federal regulations which may differ based on whether this occurs on non-federal (i.e., private) land and federal land (either onshore or offshore).
Transportation, storage, refining, and marketing of resources.Energy preferences, such as laws mandating set amounts of renewable fuels (e.g., ethanol, cellulosic biofuel, etc.) to be used in place of gasoline, heating oil, or jetfuel.
Pipeline construction, maintenance, and management.
Worker safety rules.
International trade rules and laws.
While complex may be an understatement, custom software can help to simplify the regulation process by employing tailored algorithms designed to ensure compliance with requirements of applicable laws and circumstances. By automating the approach to compliance, companies are able to multiply efficiencies and cost savings – all while extinguishing the guesswork.
2. Companies utilize a multitude of technology - most of which must be integrated or connected in some way.
With the inception of bold technological developments like blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing, the Oil and Gas industry is faced with the unique challenge of finding newer and smarter ways to accomplish the same old tasks. Many of these allow for integration with equipment and devices used for drilling and production, seeking to make these efforts more cost efficient and safer for crews in the field.
The embrace of this technology means that businesses have another excuse for employing custom software, creating interfaces to bring these processes to the forefront, connect these devices, and provide a customizable access point for Oil and Gas professionals to interact with and control operations, analysis, and outcomes.
3. Oil and Gas operations must remain secure.
Oil and Gas operations are one of the most secure industries out there. This may be for any number of reasons – From the competitiveness of the industry as a whole to the number of government agencies and regulations to which they report, these factors require companies to keep assets and data under wraps.
Companies may sometimes find what they need – or close to what they need – in an off-the-shelf software solution. Unfortunately, many of these applications do not offer a level of security otherwise required by these businesses. Custom development can help to turn these off-the-shelf solutions into more secure components or seek to create a new, software platform custom-fit to the needs of an Oil and Gas business.
4. Teams rely on streamlined, reproducible workflows for specialized tasks.
Operations within Oil and Gas companies require highly specialized skills, like engineering and geodetics focused primarily in Petroleum production. Likewise, many companies encourage employees with these skills to periodically take on new roles – in part to help them increase their knowledge within the industry, but also to ensure that fresh ideas and experiences are consistently implemented across the company. This combination of skill and trajectory requires teams to have their t’s crossed and i’s dotted at all times. Their workflows must be streamlined and reproducible to ensure routine efficiency and easy on-boarding.
The implementation of custom software can help teams achieve the goal of more efficient workflows. Complex processes can be wrapped into an application to help guide users in executing specific steps, performing specialized analysis, and achieving repeatable results.
5. Businesses need to respond quickly to changing circumstances and emergency situations.
Even though it is a reality many do not wish to dwell on, companies within the Oil and Gas industry must be prepared for worst case scenarios wherever and whenever they may occur. This could include changing circumstances like dips in the economy that result in budgets tightening and reevaluating resources. It can also include emergency situations like oil spills or pipeline failure. Having an emergency plan in place for fiscal, environmental, and resource scenarios is essential for Oil and Gas companies to remain efficient and in good public standing. Often too, these are also mandatory based on governmental regulations.
Employing custom software is a painless way of achieving this. By utilizing software that streamlines workflows and evaluates assets – like the way the Integrated Marco Studio suite inventories and addresses issues with enterprise spatial data systems – can keep companies one step ahead in minimizing costly resources. Likewise, specialized software designed to model areas impacted by an oil spill or where the likeliest location of failure along a pipeline may occur aide Oil and Gas companies in developing realistic plans for responding to emergencies should they arise.
The opportunity and willingness for the Oil and Gas industry to embrace new technology and business practices in today’s world is unprecedented. By taking advantage of custom software development, large and small businesses alike can get a grasp on their assets and restructure the ways in which they operate easier than ever before.