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Tech A Growing Focus in Energy Sector

Published Dec 06, 2019 by A.J. Mistretta

BP Center for High Performance Computing - small.JPG

BP Center for High Performance Computing

The energy sector is getting techier. Companies looking to maintain production and profitability with lower overhead are pushing to digitize and automate operations. And that means a need for skills beyond those traditionally found in the industry. 

A recent Houston Chronicle article reports on the move to develop more tech skills in the sector, from coding and design to data analysis. 

According to the Chronicle: “While statewide employment in the oil and natural gas industry is down by 3 percent compared to a year ago, tech jobs in the sector appear to be growing, especially in Houston where nearly two-thirds of the estimated 228,000 tech jobs in the region are outside of traditional technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Dell.” 

“There’s a misnomer that energy companies and pipeline companies are not technology companies,” Al Monaco, CEO of the Canadian pipeline company Enbridge told the Chronicle. “Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, industrial applications like ours are a treasure trove of opportunity.”

Enbridge opened a technology and innovation lab at its Calgary headquarters in January and then a second tech lab in Houston in April. According to the Chronicle report: Employees at the Calgary and Houston labs already have developed ways to get sensor data from pipelines faster and improve flows of crude oil and natural gas terminals. They’ve also used data generated by operations to develop better maintenance schedules and improve pipeline leak detection. And with the company branching out into new areas of business such as renewables, tech lab workers have developed ways to reposition wind turbine blades that maximize power generation.

A report from CompTIA, one of the IT industry's top trade associations, estimates that Greater Houston has nearly 228,000 tech workers, but that figure includes job titles ranging from software developers and aerospace engineers to security system installers and cable television repair technicians.

The Partnership estimates that two-thirds of tech jobs in region are in industries such as energy, medicine or aerospace.

“Demand is super high for tech workers,” said Josh Pherigo, a research manager with the Partnership. “All the oil and gas companies are digitizing. They’re changing their business models. They all want to know how they can use data to enhance their bottom line.”

Click here for more analysis of the CompTIA report. 
 

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