GIQ Study: Accelerating Middle East energy sector towards a digital tipping point

GIQ survey trmeThe economic demand destruction triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic should propel the Middle East energy industry to accelerate its adoption of the 4th Industrial Revolution digital toolbox and embed greater operational efficiencies, according to Gulf Intelligence

The global energy sector, and the Middle East in particular, have been slow adopters of digital transformation strategies, which offer a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology advances that commensurate with those of the first, second and third industrial revolutions.

“It’s a tipping point for the industry for a variety of reasons,” Mark Moody-Stuart, a member of the Board of Saudi Aramco and the former chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell PLC, said in the GIQ Study. “This is a point where oil transforms into a normal commodity, like iron, nickel and copper, where low-cost producers dominate in market share and the higher-cost producers fill in the tail end – this has been coming for some time, but COVID-19 accelerated it,” Mark added.

Global investment in the energy sector is expected to plunge 20 per cent this year, or by almost US$400bn, compared to last year as the pandemic takes a beating on the energy sector, the International Energy Agency reported last week. Before the pandemic, the global energy investor sector was on track for growth of around two per cent, which would have been its largest annual rise in spending in six years. 

Gulf Intelligence, the UAE-based strategic communications and research firm, has published a GIQ Study – Middle East Energy Technology Dialogues – on how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the Middle East’s energy sector’s adoption of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics. The Special Report profiles a series of contributions from 16 digital experts in leading energy technology companies such as ABB, BASF, Halliburton and Schneider Electric to name a few.

Digitalisation is already improving the safety, productivity, accessibility and sustainability of energy systems. It is changing markets, businesses and employment. New business models are emerging, while some old models may be on their way out. 

“While the world is going to be very, very different post-COVID-19, the only thing we don’t know is how different it will be. I expect we will see a massive acceleration in the digitalisation of the Middle East power sector, a huge improvement that will represent a step-change as we go forward,” said Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA Power.


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