Top Two Challenges Facing Asia-Pacific’s Oil & Gas Industry

In early 2018, we asked oil and gas industry expert Dr Huck Poh to discuss the most significant challenges the industry is facing over the next 12 months.

Dr Poh is the former Vice President of Downstream Technology Services at Shell Centre in Amsterdam and is now a senior consultant to Asia-Pacific’s oil and gas industry. In this short video he discusses the barriers to oil and gas industry digital transformation and digital technology adoption.

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No time to watch the video? Here’s a transcript:

Hexagon PPM: What are the top two challenges facing Asia-Pacific’s oil & gas industry?

Dr Huck Poh: First, energy transition. The industry has already been disrupted by prolonged, lower prices and the shift in customer and societal sentiment towards more renewable energy sources, such as the accelerated move to electric cars. With that, oil and gas majors are diversifying into alternative markets and business models, examples include the shift toward the use of more gas and other forms of cleaner fuels, while interestingly others are considering the renewable energy space as well, and are not standing still.

Second is digital technology and the need to go digital is clear, it’s a matter of when, how much and how fast, and we know that technologies are out there which can have major positive impact on the bottom line to help companies stay ahead of the competition. What comes to mind: big data, the internet of things, extended reality, artificial, intelligence, machine learning – the list goes on.

Hexagon PPM: We surveyed a group of senior executives – 60 percent said that issues relating to people and processes are the single largest challenge in adopting digital technology. This includes:

  • Company workflows and processes not ready
  • Complex internal decision-making/buying processes
  • Lack of support from senior management

Only 14 percent said that cost/perceived cost was their largest challenge.

Does this come as a surprise?

Dr Huck Poh: Am I surprised, not really. In my many personal experiences leading or participating in major change programs for big oil and gas companies, I think the decisive “X” factors that determine the ultimate success or failure actually transcends the technology. Rather it’s about leadership, culture, and attitude of the workforce. And the latter, in terms of rhythm and tempo, if I may say so, is reflected by senior management.

Against this backdrop, a major change program, such as a digital transformation program, will immediately evoke two main prerequisites. One, a set of clear yet meaningful vision and digital strategies, set and actively empowered by senior management. And I choose those words with care.

Secondly, a strong, top leadership presence, commitment and support to drive through and sustain the entire transformation journey. It is a journey, not a destination. Through trials and tribulations, so as to promote and inculcate as a proper DNA the desired culture, and attitude throughout the organisation.

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