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Going digital in Canadian oil and gas

From the oilfield to the office, digital technology is changing the way we work and making our industry more competitive.

Here's a look at some of the technologies that are being used in the hydrocarbon value chain and their expected benefits.



Blockchain in
smart contracts

Blockchain technology will revolutionize transactions between trusted parties. From land management to joint venture accounting to royalty payments, blockchain will provide a platform for Canadian companies to rethink their businesses and redefine historical internal structures.

Other smart contract applications include management of drilling equipment by oilfield services providers and payments by upstream companies, as well as other operational, maintenance and CAPEX contracts where management of assets, costs and revenues are shared across multiple owners.

What is blockchain?What is a smart contract?

The blockchain process

A provider and a customer agree to do a transaction

The transaction is combined with other transactions made during the same period to create a data block

The data block is stored in the decentralized global network in a tamper-proof manner and thus verified

The verified block is combined with all other blocks previously verified, thereby creating a (continuously growing) blockchain

The transaction is confirmed to both parties


Sensors at the well site gather critical data points and enable worker dispatch and asset monitoring, as well as efficient production reporting and accounting.


Integrated operations centre (IOC)
An engineer receives an alert for action based on real-time analytics and diagnoses the problem via an interactive 3D model.

What is an Integrated Operations Centre?
Integrated Operations Centre (IOC)


Sensors on the rig detect abnormal temperature

Rig Tower

Integrated Operations Centre (IOC)
An IOC Engineer receives an alert and performs diagnosis via interactive 3D model


RigRigRig Tower


Real-time service request
As the IOC identifies problems and leverages cognitive technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, repair and maintenance services are deployed automatically, with the right information and equipment, to fix the problem.


Real-time request oilfield services (OFS)
The IOC identifies required services and issues service request to OFS.

Technician selection is based on a variety of factors including the proximity to the asset.



As line of sight rules are relaxed, drones will be leveraged for both remote monitoring, inspections, surveillance, diagnosis and even specialized part delivery.

Advanced analytics and simulation


Advanced analytics and simulation
Predictive data analytics determine maintenance needs based on surveillance and sensor data.

The data is also used in simulations to determine optimal operations plans, work prioritization and workforce allocation.

The widespread use of digitization in the oil and gas sector could increase recoverable resources by
*As estimated by the International Energy Agency


Smart devices
Engineers receive alerts and incident details on their smart watches/mobile devices and prepare for service. 

Smart Devices
3D Printer


3D printing
Parts and tools required to repair equipment are printed, in real time, at the site or a central location, reducing the need for extensive inventory.

Tablet/smart glasses


Tablet/smart glasses
Engineers use virtual models on tablets and augmented reality data on smart glasses to perform maintenance.



Biometric monitoring/geographic information system

Wearable devices monitor field workers’ location, safety and job status.

The widespread use of digitization in the oil and gas sector could decrease production costs by
*As estimated by the International Energy Agency


Predictive pipeline maintenance
Sensors and legacy SCADA systems monitor pipeline operations and take action based on real-time data analysis.

Actions are programed by customized machine learning algorithms that are trained to recognize impending failures and, in some instances, AI is leveraged to optimize pipeline flows and product mix based on daily market signals.

Predictive pipeline maintenance
Dynamic inventory management


Dynamic inventory management
Supports logistical decisions to optimize the sourcing of repair parts based on availability and lead-times in case of unplanned events.


Autonomous vehicles
Self-driving vehicles, enabled by GPS and sensors, deliver parts and support real-time tracking and co-ordination of activities.



Training workers with virtual reality
Workers train in virtually replicated environments before heading out to the field.


Cloud storage
From seismic and SCADA monitoring data to accounting and procurement data, vast amounts of production and operating data are uploaded to the cloud, providing operational and performance visibility.

What about security issues?
Cloud Storage
Robotic Process automation (RPA)


Robotic process automation (RPA)
From applications in accounting, inventory management and data integration to exploration, drilling, and predictive maintenance, machines automate repetitive, rule-based tasks.

Digital Twin


Digital twins
In addition to enabling predictive maintenance, a digital twin of physical assets allows operations and management teams to conduct analysis and plan for maintenance or construction activities.

It also supports simulation and real-time spatial analysis of complex and often remote assets.

What is a digital twin?

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Contact Us

Inserting technology and data-driven insights into your business strategy can have profound effects. Knowing where to start and where your resources will have the most impact can often be a daunting task.

Our team of oil and gas and digital experts can help guide you through the process and provide insights on what actions will provide the most return on your investment.

Reynold Tetzlaff

Reynold Tetzlaff
Calgary Managing Partner and National Energy Leader
PwC Canada
+1 403 509 7520

Neil Manji

Neil Manji
National Leader, Energy, Utilities, Mining and Industrial Manufacturing & Automotive
+1 416 687 8130

Adam Crutchfield

Adam Crutchfield
Energy Consulting Leader
+1 403 509 7397

Jason Bergeron

Jason Bergeron
Partner, Technology Advisory and Digital Energy Leader
+1 403 509 7470

Brendan Hobal

Brendan Hobal
Edmonton Energy Leader
+1 780 441 6836

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