The oil and gas industry is in transition. As energy increasingly moves away from fossil fuels and toward sources of renewable energy, companies must strike a balance between addressing climate change and managing their portfolio and performance. To successfully navigate the energy transition, stay competitive, and continue powering the world, oil and gas companies must embrace new digital technologies that not only enable more efficient operations but also reduce their carbon intensities. At the same time, they must transform management systems and expand workforce capabilities to capture the full value potential of digital.
McKinsey: What are your thoughts on how digital technologies can help energy companies navigate the transition to renewables?
Antonio: Most of our customers are proceeding along their digitalization journeys, increasingly deriving real-time insights from their assets and, in some cases, optimizing individual processes. There has been a significant progression by capital-intensive industries around leveraging digital technologies—and increased automation has been integral to this acceleration.
At the same time, the energy transition and circular economy are driving the need for organizations to evaluate and transform existing business and operating models with a renewed focus on achieving sustainability goals. Operating in today’s uncertain times, energy companies are faced with three major challenges. First, there is the need for new technologies that either use carbon in a more efficient way or enable the use of renewable energy to lower carbon emissions. Second, there is a need for significant capital to transition the industry to new process technologies. And third, there is a business-model challenge, which is forcing a broader view of the value chain.
Energy producers are looking to optimize the health of their operations and the performance of their assets across the value chain as they face increased regulation and pressure to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in their existing assets, as well as establish alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. Adopting new technologies such as AI and machine learning enables increased levels of data usage and performance transparency, as well as faster decision loops. Embedding industrial AI within our software combines data science and machine learning with domain expertise, and it has created a lot of excitement among our customers and in the marketplace. By accelerating digitalization and enabling operational excellence for capital-intensive industries, our AI moves plants further down the path to self-optimization, developing increasingly autonomous processes to instantly react and adapt to changes across the value chain and driving higher levels of safety, sustainability, and profitability.
Sidebar About Antonio Pietri Antonio is president and chief executive officer of AspenTech and serves on the company’s board of directors. He previously served as executive vice president, worldwide field operations, and before that he served as senior vice president and managing director, regional operations, Asia–Pacific. He holds an MBA from the University of Houston and a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Tulsa.