The oil industry was one of the original "smart" industries, but its tradition of leadership in using data to improve operations, enhance security and serve markets has been diminished over time by the counterintuitive incentives imposed by regulators.
As the sector transforms in response to a supply-side revolution and prepares to engage with global markets more directly through exports, the industry should be freed to build the next generation of infrastructure with efficient markets, security and consumer needs in mind.
One of the satisfying things about working in the oil business is how real it is: an actual physical substance is extracted, chemically upgraded and put to use every day in the real world by real people. That means it can be easy to forget how much the oil sector has relied on data collection and analysis to drive efficiencies that have served consumers well, and how a change in methods of collection and analysis can alter the way efficiencies are identified, implemented and achieved.
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