How digital skills are helping Petrochemicals firms gain a competitive advantage

September 11, 2022

Source: Pexels/Tom Frisk

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the use of digital technologies across the energy sector. 

The Power sector is one that has been benefiting from a highly-skilled tech workforce and its solutions. With the digital transformation, the sector has been demanding more disruption and, consequently, more collaboration between the different energy niches.

The Oil & Gas industry in particular has been quick to embrace digitalisation, with many companies now using data analytics, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The Petrochemicals industry is no exception, and the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies across the sector. From exploration and production to refining and marketing, companies are using digital tools to improve efficiency and gain a competitive advantage.

So, what does the future hold for the Petrochemicals industry? And how will digitalisation impact the sector?

Digitalisation and remote working in the Petrochemicals sector 

According to the 2022 Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) report, workers in the Petrochemicals field see advances in engineering technology as the greatest opportunity for their business over the next three years. This is coupled with the changing ways of working, as lockdown policies during the pandemic accelerated the introduction of engineering simulations and remote plant operations.

33% of workers cited digitally-enabled skills as an opportunity for the sector to be more innovative and reduce geographical barriers over the next three years. What’s more, 28% said that they now have the opportunity to work remotely or enjoy flexible hours in their employment packages. This suggests that the digitalisation of working in the Petrochemicals sector is beginning to see success.

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Which digital skills are in demand in the Petrochemicals field?

Digitalisation has helped to improve the efficiency of petrochemical operations. For example, by using data analytics, companies are able to monitor their operations in real-time and make adjustments where necessary. This helps to reduce downtime and improve productivity.

In addition, digital tools can be used to create virtual models of facilities that can be used for training purposes. This helps to reduce the need for physical testing and experimentation, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

The most sought-after digital skills in the Petrochemicals industry are:

  • Data analytics - the ability to analyse data and identify trends in order to make better decisions. For example, data analytics can be used to monitor the performance of equipment and identify areas where improvements can be made.

  • Modelling and simulation - the ability to create virtual models of facilities and processes in order to test different scenarios. An example of this in Petrochemicals would be to test the impact of a new process on the environment, such as how they would affect emissions.

  • Process control - the ability to monitor and control industrial processes in order to optimise performance. A use case of process control in the Petrochemicals sector would be to use sensors to monitor the level of a chemical in a tank, and then automatically adjust the flow rate accordingly.

  • Automation - the ability to use technology to automate tasks in order to improve efficiency. In Petrochemicals, this could mean using automated processes to carry out tasks such as welding or painting, which would traditionally be done manually.

  • Asset management - the ability to track and manage industrial assets in order to maximise their value. For example, in petrochemical operations there may be a need to track the location and condition of pipelines, or to monitor the performance of pumps and other equipment.

These skills are in high demand because they can help Petrochemicals firms to improve their operations, reduce costs, and break the mould in comparison to their competitors. The demand for these skills is only going to grow in the future as the Petrochemicals industry becomes increasingly digitalised. 

How digitalisation has become an opportunity for growth in energy recruitment

Digitalisation has had a positive impact on energy recruitment. In the past, recruiting for the energy sector was a challenge due to a growing skills gap, a geographically distributed talent pool and regulatory challenges in many emerging markets. 

However, with the increase in digital skills across the industry, energy firms are now able to access a larger pool of candidates. This is because the flux of digital skills means companies can overcome geographical barriers through remote working and recruit from the tech industry where digital skills are more prevalent. 

And not to mention also the vast options of partnerships in the recruitment area. The digital transformation makes the decision of engaging with services like Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and Managed Service Provision (MSP) easier. Both solutions are even more attractive when remote work is already widespread and part of the company's culture.

All of this is helping to meet the growing demand for employees across the energy market.

Learn more about Petrochemicals recruitment trends in 2022

Would you like to know more about the trends expected to shape the Petrochemicals sector in 2022? You can get all the insights you need, plus information on trends across the rest of the energy industry, in the 2022 GETI report.

Download it for free today.

Download the 2023 GETI report


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This post was written by: Ashley Samuelson, Business Development Director