Oil companies in the Gulf must change the way they work if they are to make the most of the latest technological innovations.

That was the primary conclusion of senior oil industry stakeholders gathered on 6 February at the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa at the second Mashreq Energy Club.

The event sought to identify the key disruptive technologies that are set to modernise the Middle East oil and gas industry. The recommendations that emerged were for investment in artificial intelligence, blockchain and additive manufacturing (3D printing).

However, representatives from leading companies, including the UAE’s Adnoc, IBM from the US, Austria’s OMV and Italy’s Eni said that organisational inertia and closed minds, alongside the question of investment, are hindering the adoption of new technology in the sector.

“Technology is just the tip of the iceberg,” said one expert. “What matters is the culture, organisation and the people.”

Delegates called for better collaboration between companies and also with education providers. Higher levels of training, along with the hiring of younger staff, could reduce resistance to innovation and help companies identify opportunities presented by technology.

Deployment of new innovations should not only be driven by the top management, they said, but also by lower-level staff involved in day-to-day operations. Newly emerging positions for ‘digital officers’ and innovation departments indicate that progress is being made.

Watch: Highlights from the second Mashreq Energy Club


Mashreq Energy Club kicker

Restructuring Gulf oil: More from this month’s Agenda