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Oil leaders showing more ‘willingness’ to drive technology adoption, new study says

The industry is known for being risk averse when it comes to trying out new tools, with companies often preferring to wait until multiple trials and deployments have been safely and successfully completed.
The industry is known for being risk averse when it comes to trying out new tools, with companies often preferring to wait until multiple trials and deployments have been safely and successfully completed.

The oil and gas industry’s “unique characteristics” are blocking the adoption of new technology, a new study of psychological factors said.

But leaders are starting to show a desire to embrace innovation, supported by younger people entering the sector, according to research by Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC).

The industry is known for being risk averse when it comes to trying out new tools, with companies often preferring to wait until multiple trials and deployments have been safely and successfully completed.

RGU and OGTC said reluctance to change, lack of ownership and leadership around technology and complex contractual arrangements were also cited as barriers.

In an effort to understand the issue, RGU research fellow Ruby Roberts conducted an extensive literature review and a series of interviews with those who work in the sector.

The underlying psychological factors influencing attitudes to technology where categorised as: Personality, attitudes, social and cognitive factors, and organisational level.

The results are being used to produce tools and guidelines on how to support the introduction of new technology.

RGU research fellow Ruby Roberts

Dr Roberts said: “Compared to other sectors, the oil and gas industry has a set of unique characteristics that has the potential to hinder technology adoption.

“When compared to other industries, which tend to invent and implement new technologies quite naturally, oil and gas can be slower to innovate.

“We’ve known this anecdotally for some time, but our research with OGTC is revealing how particular behaviours and thought processes are impacting the industry.

“At leadership level, we’re confident that there is a willingness to drive new technology and this is being backed up by a newer generation of workers entering the workplace.”

The RGU and OGTC paper ‘Unlocking the Full Potential: The Psychological Factors that Influence the Adoption of New Technologies in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry’ will be presented on September 6 at 11:30am at P&J Live.

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