Spending on automation within the oil and gas industry will increase by 7.5% from $17.17 billion in 2020 to $24.63 billion by 2025, as companies employ artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics to optimize their business processes, according to a new report published by research company Frost & Sullivan.

The report titled ‘Global Oil and Gas Automation Growth Opportunities’ states that global oil and gas companies have already applied operational technologies such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, distributed control and programmable systems, however, are seeking to optimize their digital transformation for efficient and safe operations and to achieve sustainability goals by leveraging AI and IoT solutions.

The report states that by leveraging AI, for instance, oil and gas companies can predict and address leakages in near-real-time as well as reduce the number of wells they drill while maintaining high production or output levels. At the same time, IoT sensors and robotics can be leveraged to improve worker safety. However, IoT and AI technologies are already driving digital trends across the oil and gas sector, according to the report.

Augustina DeSarriera, a research analyst with Frost & Sullivan’s energy and environment division, said: “Industry 4.0 has been transforming the oil and gas value chain by enhancing connectivity, simplifying operation maintenance, and prioritizing safety. The digitalization of drilling processes in the upstream sector is a high-growth area and can significantly boost production.”

The need to align with energy sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies are some of the factors that are driving oil and gas companies into employing automation on a massive scale, states the Frost & Sullivan report.

“With the pandemic causing a resource shortage, it is imperative that oil & gas companies tap automation to reduce human exposure and perform rote tasks that were previously performed by humans,” reiterated DeSarriera.