More than half of oil refiners are investing more in digital technologies than before, according to Accenture’s Digital Refining Survey 2019. The survey analysed responses from 145 oil and gas industry professionals from around the world, including engineers and project managers.
It was revealed that 56 per cent of respondents were investing more in digital technology, as compared to the previous year. This is because digital transformation continues to drive refining margin improvements, with most respondents indicating a year-on-year increase of two to six per cent.
A majority (59 per cent) of respondents saw the benefits of digital technologies in production planning and execution processes, with half the respondents also indicating that investments in digital improved maintenance and reliability.
Over the next three years, a majority of respondents expect to make future digital investments in process optimisation, predictive asset management and greater plant automation. These investments are expected to improve plant efficiency.
However, when asked how they plan to carry out new digital investments for refining, only 25 per cent of respondents indicated they were looking in-house. In contrast, 28 per cent say they plan to outsource digital investment, 15 per cent plan to use a large IT provider, while a further 10 per cent will use a niche vendor.
This suggests that many oil refiners see value in leveraging external partners in their digital transformation. Accenture believes this will create a new, broad ecosystem of partnerships that will lead to success for oil refiners.
For an in-depth look at digital technology in the refining industry, read the full report Digital re-definery: Digital Refining Survey 2019.