[Editor's note: This introduction to the cover story first appeared in the November issue of E&P Plus. To view the full issue, click here. To subscribe to the digital publication, visit here.]

Around this time last year, oil and gas executives were contemplating how Big Data analytics could become a source of significant competitive advantage for their companies. As the industry made slow, yet steady progress toward digital transformation, corporate discussions centered on how machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and automation could save the upstream sector billions of dollars.

Fast forward to today, the industry is knee-deep in one of the worst downturns in history. The demand destruction has caused massive well shut-ins, historic layoffs and, consequently, remote operations have become the new normal. The executives are now discussing survival strategies using advanced digital solutions and are revisiting the use of historical data for resilience and recovery.

A recent study by McKinsey & Co. stated, “It is uncertain when the current perfect storm impacting oil and gas operators will pass…What is certain, however, is that only innovative operators with superior operating models will come out of this crisis prepared to cope with volatility and to sustain future growth.”

Even though the upstream industry had begun embracing advanced analytics and AI for increased efficiency over the past few years, the pandemic-induced need for remote operations has created a sense of urgency among companies to tap deeper into the value of data. Between the short-term uncertainty of the pandemic and the long-term uncertainty of oil demand and prices, it’s not surprising that data analytics—widely known for its optimization capabilities and predictive prowess—has become an essential tool for upstream companies to navigate the downturn.

Click below to read the full cover story in the

November issue of E&P Plus.

This article features interviews with Honeywell Connected Industrial, Halliburton Landmark, Baker Hughes, ABB, W Energy Software, Schlumberger, IBM and Equinor. Additionally, Schlumberger and IBM also discuss a recent collaboration in an exclusive video interview with Hart Energy's Faiza Rizvi.