Safer, cleaner, more efficient oil and gas operations
Safer, cleaner, more efficient oil and gas operations


5 min read

Boom and bust – the constant challenge of change for oil and gas

Digital transformation may sound daunting, but it’s the best way for O&G to navigate seemingly endless disruptions.

The booms and busts of the O&G industry are legendary. But the 2020 pandemic was an unexpected, unprecedented bust. It accelerated long-term trends, like digitization, sustainability initiatives and cleaner energy and turned the Great Crew Change into the Great Compression.

  • Digitization: This industry has always been challenged to optimize production and deliver more energy at a lower cost as demand and prices fluctuate. It’s how companies turn a profit. But disruptions often impact the razor-thin margins and push them into negative territory. Adding to the pressure: many companies are trying to manage, monitor and maintain assets that are almost two decades old.
  • Sustainability: The world demands cleaner energy, and many organizations have pledged to get to net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. That means oil and gas companies must supply energy with less emissions, putting more focus on optimizing operations to lower costs … in a market where they cannot control the price of the product.
  • Skilled workers: Oil and gas companies may have had to lay off workers but the need for skilled employees persists especially when new job types are added. The global workforce has evolved, too. Younger, digital natives entering the market expect mobility, augmented reality, AI assistants and the use of autonomous technologies – all in the palm of their hands. That’s a plus, though, because as older workers retire, the next generation of technicians and operators will need technologies that rely on IoT, AI and real-time data to succeed.

Analysts like IDC have long predicted the need to adopt these newer technologies to build more resilient oil and gas operations. Big data, IoT, AI and the migration towards Industry 4.0 and digital twins, are prompting leading firms to invest across their production systems and supply chain. And as the analysts predicted, the firms that do invest have an edge by improving their ability to predict disruptions, reallocate resources, and improve the overall reliability of their production and distribution systems.

It’s time for O&G to get connected.

By using IoT to “connect everything”, these organizations are embedding intelligence into their asset management strategy. They’re capturing and analyzing data with the help of AI and machine learning. And it’s transformed asset management and operations from a cost-center to a strategic enabler. It’s also providing new revenue sources and changing businesses in the process, allowing connected companies to capitalize on their rich histories, operating procedures and analytical insights.

Ultimately, companies that haven’t yet embraced digital implementation throughout the organization can no longer afford a cautious approach; the value digital tools deliver is critical for survival in today’s price environment.”1
– EY
aerial view of oil and gas company

The oil and gas company of the future will be heavily instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. It’s the only way to support a sustainable and integrated supply chain that stretches from geophysical realms, through R&D advancements to employees in the field, and ultimately to a world that is energy dependent.

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4 min read

The transition to cleaner energy – “Doing well by doing good”

Cleaner energy isn’t just good for the planet – it can boost your bottom line, too.

Today’s oil and gas companies stand at the forefront of the global discussion on sustainability. It’s a discussion that has rapidly transformed into an imperative, driving actions that are changing the industry.

In the push for more eco-friendly outcomes, the common question is: “How can we create a more sustainable organization that also delivers value to the bottom line?” And the answer often leads to an evolution of not just the vision for operations but also for the overall business.

It’s an evolution that will take decades. Although the perception is one of complete disruption, many industry leaders have identified pragmatic areas where immediate focus is driving quantifiable results. It’s also creating a foundation that will meet the future requirements of the industry.

Because oil and gas operations are asset and energy intensive in themselves, having more intelligent asset management and sustainable production practices is already helping firms achieve their sustainability goals – one asset at a time.

Apart from enabling remote operations and driving human-machine collaboration, digitalization has an important role to play in setting near-term emissions targets, using standardized and credible reporting, and tracking accountability across the hierarchy.”2
– Deloitte
Woman standing in uniform and helmet working on her notebook in oil and gas company

By using IoT data, AI and analytics, it’s possible to make incremental changes to reduce downtime, costs, C02 and waste, as well as resources consumed. Some examples:

  • Apply predictive asset optimization with AI and IoT to extend the lifespan of assets and reduce the resources required to maintain and monitor them.
  • Optimize upstream and midstream operations with a focus on systemic asset performance to better time migration to digital systems, make the most of crews, and investigate underperforming, overconsuming equipment.
  • Use technologies for environmental and human monitoring — as well as logistics — to reduce energy consumption, improve health, safety and environment (HSE) concerns, and more easily add and expand alternative and renewable production assets.

Read more on the topic of sustainability and the role of technology in helping companies reduce their impact on the planet. Reports include Sustainability as a business strategy and The rise of the sustainable enterprise.

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5 min read

A single source of (asset) truth in a very noisy world

When it comes to making the smartest decisions, you need the best information you can get. And so does everyone else in your organization.

Your business is like no other. It’s assets, operations, resources, skills and objectives are aligned to your competitive position and strategic plan. That’s why you – and everyone you work with – need to know the state of your operations every single day. You need to know how capital is deployed, how resources are allocated, and how each and every asset is performing – then make the best decisions from that data.

Having a comprehensive enterprise asset management (EAM) solution mean you can harness all the data needed to centrally manage every one of your assets – rigs, wells, pipelines, pumps, fleets and plants — efficiently and effectively. EAM systems also allow you to capture your operating procedures and work plans, deep asset information, resource availability and skill level, inventories, logs, HSE data, and more, all in one place.

This rich and deep history, coupled with processes that are intelligently automated for maintenance, repair and overhaul activities, frees up leadership to focus on the organizational and economic aspects of your operations. And your business systems, like ERP, Human Capital Management, Exploration & Production and CRM, will gain integrated, real-time data. That means operational decision-making won’t be done in a silo, and financial considerations can drive schedules, procurement and production.

Take EAM to the next level with APM

EAM systems with all their data richness, are ripe to expand with the inclusion of AI and IoT data. This next level of information helps better manage asset performance management (APM) requirements; AI also assists with remote asset monitoring, the use of visual inspection technologies, and helps execute more precise predictive maintenance analysis. Without the ability to analyze, then operationalize the results of these new technological paradigms, evolution is challenging.

To boost your oil and gas operations, consider IBM Maximo. You’ll find out-of-the-box data models and workflows based on best-practice approaches to some of the most challenging processes that oil and gas companies face every day. The IBM Maximo Application Suite for Oil & Gas helps you automate and manage:

  • Work processes
  • Permit to work
  • Risk analysis
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Incident tracking
  • Contracting
  • Continuous improvement

See how IBM Maximo can improve your O&G asset management strategy in the field, on the platform and at the pipeline. Or explore how IBM is helping oil and gas (O&G) companies to accelerate energy transitions.

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5 min read

Are you ready for the great crew change?

Give your workforce — young and old – the tools they need to succeed.

The ongoing retirement of experienced workers, i.e., the Great Crew Change, has challenged the oil & gas industry for many years. Then COVID wreaked its havoc and in the U.S. alone, the industry slashed 107,000 jobs from March to August 2020. It was the fastest rate of layoffs in the industry’s history and gave us the Great Compression. So now each and every new technician or operator who comes on board is truly a critical hire.

Workers often succeed or fail based on their knowledge. But assets are becoming smarter and more connected, so the information needed to maintain and manage them grows, too. And the work – whether it’s on offshore rigs, tank farms, gas wells and pipelines – is often remote, dangerous and done in all kinds of weather. That’s why so many O&G organizations are choosing to invest in mobility, AI and the IoT. As experienced workers retire, critical institutional knowledge often walks out the door with them, and these technologies help fill the gap, enabling newer – and digitally savvy – field technicians to keep up.

Mobility platforms have become the foundational requirement for field and plant operations because they provide:

  • Location monitoring to better protect lone workers
  • Mobile EAM with instant access to core asset management, asset performance management data and the critical “how-to” information for inspections, maintenance, and repairs
  • Automated, prioritized activities and schedules
  • Native mobile features like GIS and GPS to more easily locate assets
The connection to knowledge and support is more than just a mobile device with an app. It’s connecting people at the point of activity back to the enterprise. It’s a whole new way of working for both the technician and the operation.”
Field workers inspecting a pump

There’s even more opportunity when you take mobility to the next level

Many organizations – and technicians – know that as critical as mobile EAM is, the real game changer is taking the mobile platform and its native capabilities to its logical end. By using cameras, accelerometers, Bluetooth, web and Wi-Fi, technicians are innovating from the field. Some examples:

  • Using augmented reality to engage senior technicians for just-in-time peer guidance
  • Leveraging AI assistants and voice commands for hands-free inspections
  • Using digital twins to plan and test new approaches to extending asset life
  • Creating step-by-step visual documentation to help the next technician or provide valuable training content

Whatever form the assets of the future take, the ability to tackle any asset, any time and any place will require the continued evolution of a highly skilled, digital workforce, and the ability to get the most out of mobile and edge devices.

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The next generation of workers will rely more on mobile devices such as tablets, rather than workstations and rugged devices. Platforms like IBM Maximo Mobile, which can deliver a true EAM experience, are critical to driving field management transformation in oil and gas companies. Discover how in this video.


7 min read

Safety never takes a vacation

Converge maintenance and safety processes to reduce the cost of environment, health and safety (EHS) operations and create a safer workplace.

Oil and gas is a dangerous industry. According to the CDC, the fatality rate for these workers is seven times higher than other industries. Even with quantifiable improvements over the last decade, there is still much more to be done to reduce avoidable incidents in the field and in the plant. Like many industries, safety always starts before any actual work begins. And data, AI and the right processes play a key role.

Below are four of the more common types of hazardous situations along with how specific technologies can help mitigate risk and create a safer workplace:

I. Hazardous situation: Transportation

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), highway incidents are the top cause of oil and gas employee fatalities. Part of the problem is that these workers often drive on secondary and unpaved roads and drive in inclement weather.

Technologies to improve workplace safety

  • Keep fleets in peak condition by developing preventative and predictive maintenance schedules
  • Stay connected to team members with mobile tools, while also giving them access to critical GIS/GPS information to plot the optimal route
  • Tap into third-party solutions like the IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite to monitor for disruptive environmental conditions like severe weather, wildfires and floods and adjust travel plans as needed.

II. Hazardous situation: Contact injuries

As OSHA notes, “struck-by/caught-in/caught-between” injuries are a leading cause of fatalities. Moving vehicles, heavy equipment, high-pressure hoses and lines, overhead cranes and cables can all contribute to these contact injuries.

Technologies to improve workplace safety

  • Implement a centralized solution to spot trends, identify high-risk areas and take action like adding physical barriers and new signage.
  • Employ sensors, wearables and edge computing to monitor employees and send immediate alerts when someone gets too close to a hazard, like no-go zones or high-voltage lines.
  • Use drones, robotics like Spot the Dog from Boston Dynamics and other remote monitoring options to perform higher-risk tasks like tank farm inspections.

III. Hazardous situation: Fires and explosions

Many fire hazards are easy to spot or smell at oil and gas sites like open flames, flammable vapors and hydrogen sulfide. But others may be harder to identify like static electricity.

Technologies to improve workplace safety

  • Use automated processes and business rules for maintenance and work orders from the initial safety meeting to control of the work to compliance and management of change.
  • Use sensors, data and AI to monitor and detect issues and automatically send alerts before a problem occurs.
  • Keep on top of changing weather conditions with a third-party solution like the IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite to monitor for lightening, wind and humidity.

IV. Hazardous situation: Falls from Elevation

The National Institute of Health looked at falls among derrickmen and found that the vast majority (86%) of accident victims weren’t using the appropriate fall protection.

Technologies to improve workplace safety

  • Keep employees safer and on the ground with an AI-based visual inspection solution.
  • Once again, drones and robotics like Spot the Dog can perform higher-risk tasks and reduce the chance of human falls.
  • Sensors embedded in wearables, like watches, hard hats and vests can alert both employees and supervisors to potential problems so that corrective action can be taken.


As much as anything else, the key to tightening industry standards of safety is to be proactive, rather than reactive.”3
– OH&S
Woman holding clipboard checking the performance of tanks

When it comes to safety, automation and data should drive every workflow. The same goes for health and environmental aspects of the industry. Then if a problem does occur this same HSE/EHS data and analytics would also drive the organizational response -- automating incident reports using historical and real-time data to feed the investigative and remediation processes. It’s also the hallmark of organizations delivering a safer and more productive environment.

Customer spotlight:
Hub Power: Why efficient health, safety and environment practices start with IT

When outdated, unconnected asset management software systems encumbered their work processes, Hub Power Company integrated IBM Maximo for Oil and Gas software into their operations. The solution reduced change management approval times by 60%, sped cash flow from operations, and the utility investigates about 20% fewer incidents.


3 min read

Why choose IBM?

Hint: 30+ years of Maximo leadership, deep industry expertise and innovation that never stops

When it comes to powering the world’s industrial businesses, IBM is a partner to count on and IBM Maximo is the asset management choice for leaders in almost every heavy industry. You’ll find our solution operating in over 99 countries, and on all seven continents. For more than 30 years, our customers – passionate Maximo users – have been integral to the product, guiding development to ensure that Maximo meets your business requirements now, and in the future.

Consider IBM if you are looking for scalable oil and gas–centric functionality and an EAM application from a company with extensive experience in the.”4

If you’re searching for technology solutions, IBM offers several oil and gas options for IoT-driven and AI-driven enterprise asset management (EAM) and asset performance management (APM).

Oil and gas facility

With Maximo, you’ll have customized solutions to meet your specific business requirements, along with multiple applications and add-ons. Discover how you can:

  • Improve equipment operations and keep critical assets running
  • Use native HSE functionality to protect workers and maintain compliance
  • Spot problems, assess risks and address them in real time
  • Enhance failure predictions for better supply chain predictability
  • Optimize operations in the field, on the platform and at the pipeline
  • Give field technicians a mobile solution for more productive maintenance

Create safer, more efficient and reliable operations with Maximo Application Suite Oil and Gas

IBM Maximo Oil and Gas, part of the IBM Maximo® Application Suite, helps you improve safety, reliability, environmental and operational performance, while reducing risk and increasing your return on assets. You can centrally manage all your assets — such as rigs, wells, pipelines, pumps, fleets and plants — efficiently and effectively, and all on a single platform and database, while leveraging industry best practices.

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Read the research "The next industrial revolution in oil and gas" and see how a predictive model can help keep production steady and more accurately forecast equipment failure — by more than 85 percent — days in advance of an event.

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