New market forecasts from ABI Research show that spending on big data and analytics in the energy industry will amount to US$7 billion in 2014, representing over 15% of the overall cross-industry spending. In 2019, the spending on energy analytics will exceed $21 billion, following a CAGR of 25%.
As a sector, energy has traditionally been conservative in adopting new forms of IT, but the resistance to change has already started softening. Principal analyst Aapo Markkanen comments, “Greater shareholder pressure is pushing many energy groups to improve their returns after having it easy in the past. In such a highly asset-intensive field, huge cost savings are possible by making the operations more driven by data. Analytics allow the early movers to gain a critical competitive advantage over laggards, in a field where competing by the end product is seldom an option.”
In 2014, 63% of the spending is expected within upstream operations, where big data is bound to revolutionize the exploration and production of resources. Meanwhile, the downstream accounts for 31% of the total, reflecting the growing use of data in refining and the smart grid. Finally, the midstream represents 6% of the sum, spent mostly on optimizing logistics.
Practice director Dan Shey concludes, “Energy is an industry that has expensive problems, but can afford premium solutions. For instance, in the core analytics part of the value chain, newer suppliers like Ayata and Ayasdi are pushing the state of the art when it comes to modernizing the upstream. But there are also opportunities for entrants tackling other parts of the value chain. Rethinking data storage to accommodate the growing influx of sensor data is one example. In this domain, pay attention to likes of Infobright, SpaceCurve, and TempoDB as innovators.”