The Human Face Of Energy Reinvention: Why Tech Alone

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The Human Face Of Energy Reinvention: Why Tech Alone

Notapor miniming » Mar 2. Mar 2021, 08:39

The Human Face Of Energy Reinvention: Why Tech Alone Can’t Save The Industry


Why do some societies disappear when others survive? That was the question Jared Diamond set out to answer with his 2005 book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. He thought he’d be writing a story about the environmental consequences of human behavior, but that’s not what he found. He discovered that how each society responded to external factors was as important as those factors. In other words, did people rise to the challenges of the moment?

In business, about 80% of transformations fail because of inability to execute change with people. When it comes to successful change, it’s the people, not the tech.

That’s exactly what we’re noticing right now in the oil and gas industry. As much as the fossil fuel industry needs to address technological needs, how its people meet this moment now will largely determine whether the oil and gas industry is able to meet the demands of the next few decades.

It’s easy to mistake what’s happening to this industry only as a collection of external pressures, such as a supply glut coinciding with cratering demand and the sometimes-conflicting demands of cybersecurity and data democratization to enable digital transformation, not to mention the overwhelming need to find trapped inefficiencies to raise profitability. What’s called for here isn’t a series of simple fixes by individual operators but a wholesale transformation of an entire industry — and sitting at the heart of all this change are its people. In other words, a reinvention of the energy workforce – one that entails choosing the right people, teaching the right skills, and creating the right culture.

The oil and gas industry has always been people intensive. Now it just needs different people, or at least different skillsets, but it’s safe to say that much-in-demand data science, engineering, and analytics professionals do not have fossil fuels at the top of their career wish lists. The energy sector isn’t going to easily outbid Google or Amazon for freshly minted data scientists. But it cannot do without those data scientists, so oil and gas companies have to become more attractive. One way to do that would be to reframe the industry’s challenges as opportunities such as enabling the availability and affordability of energy for human development by utilizing and analyzing reams of real-time data generated by the industry that exceeds that of other industries in volume and velocity.

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