Is oil and gas finally embracing digital?

OXEA Corporation chemical plant has several wired Rosemount pH transmitter with a THUM wireless transmitters in the plant Thursday, March 30, 2017, in Bay City. Big industrial technology manufacturers are fighting for marketshare in the oil and gas industry, pushing oil and gas companies to go digital. ( Steve Gonzales / Houston Chronicle )

According to the consultants who whisper in the ears of oil and gas executives, the energy industry is on the brink, finally, of embracing the digital world.

“Digital” has been a buzzword in the energy sector for years. But oil and gas operators have been slow to adopt, focused more on drilling than digital.

Now, it’s the companies themselves approaching oilfield service firms and tech giants and asking for more computing power, more connectivity.

“The way I see it, we are going through the oil-and-gas version of Jerry Maguire’s ‘Show me the money!’” said Vivek Chidambaram, managing director of energy strategy at the Dublin-based consulting firm Accenture. “We have companies saying, ‘I have a problem. Show me what you can do — and then we’ll talk about service plans, etc.’”

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The price of digital connectivity has dropped drastically, said Nate Clark, a partner and global digital lead at consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and quality has improved.

CEOs, Clark said, are becoming champions for digital.

“Culturally, people are expecting things to be sensored now, even embracing it, wanting it,” Clark said. “Five to seven years ago, people thought these were new-fangled toys.”

But is digital ready for the oil and gas industry? More coming in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle.