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Oil, People & The Waiting Future

Oil, People & The Waiting Future

It’s been almost a century since we are working with and around Oil, and we are doing considerably well. Even with all these climate-control sirens and mentions of depleting levels of fuel hitting the headlines every other day, most of the players survived to keep the ball rolling and we see that they have accomplished well, so far.

But then, if everything is going well, what is holding us from the waiting future?


The future of the oil industry is uncertain and depends on various factors, such as technological innovations, population and economic growth, demand for fossil fuels, adoption of renewable energy resources, etc. Certain reports suggest that the demand for oil will keep rising, especially in the US, and thus, oil industries must adapt to the changing world and commit to introduce plans and processes that ensure public and environmental safety.


The world of engineering design moved from manual effort to Computer-Aided Design (CAD) sometime during the late 80s. This innovation resulted in businesses growing ten folds. However, during the same era, there was an incident where John Saxon, a retired Math teacher pooled a group of peers to protest a policy by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics to integrate Calculators in schools. Now, however weird this might look, there is one commonality between the two scenarios. And that’s the People. We – the People – who can accept or discard, agree or disagree, adopt or ignore, make or fail, the waiting future.


A lot has been said about the “Waiting Future”. But what is it?

There will be times down the line where factories will become template based. There will never be thousands of options to design a process plant in the future. The processes will change every day and every new process is expected to be performed using the same infrastructure. This could look like a far-fetched idea, but the journals are already saying that the whole world is getting ready to face this utopic concept. The needs of the world will increase, and the question of productivity will be a huge part of the debate. The cost of construction, commissioning, and maintenance will reach the skies.

Now, let us look at the engineering service providers, in this whole equation of business. Where do they fit? A quick answer is the middle of the Owner and the User. Engineering service firms in many ways are the translators, that listen to the unique business problems of the customer (owner) and deliver a solution that fixes the problem (for owner/user). Sadly, for service providers, there is no fixed stock of ready-to-use solutions. This is where the most important tool needs to be leveraged – Data.

Data – right under the eye, ready to be explored – something that can define good approaches, processes, and frameworks to solve complex business problems. The Kingdom of Saudi and Aramco, in the early 2000s, identified the value of data and jumped into immediate action of digitalizing the refineries. And the result was Integrated Manufacturing Operations Management System (IMOMS). This is a classic example of vision.

Soon, we will not be performing calculations or measuring things, and certainly not be creating documents or drawings. The computers will get these done. There will only be one duty for every one of us. To monitor, collect, analyse the data generated by modern applications, and automation, and make informed data-driven decisions.

The readiness for new problems, change, and consistency is the checkpoint for the Waiting Future.

So, How Do We Balance the Equation?

Every engineering service firm will need to be updated about these changes and newer ground-breaking processes. Organizations would need to quickly learn how to upskill and upgrade the workforce and tech ecosystem to fit into this equation. The faster we unlearn the bygone and learn the disruptive new, the faster we move ahead. Companies would need to educate their resources and help them be ready to prepare novel solutions. A company is expected to be well-read, well-resourced, and strategically situated in this whole business plan serving turnkey projects. In all this transition, apart from machines, and processes, we need to upgrade ourselves as much as we change our tools.

Are there opportunities? There are plenty. Are we ready? Now, that is the right question.

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