When you talk about disruptive technologies and how they are shaping the future of the oil and gas sector the focus is usually on upstream activities, but the downstream sector is also a fertile proving ground. As a sector, it has taken stock of what is being achieved by upstream operations as well as casting an eye over activities in other industries and is starting to formulate strategies. It is an area often a secondary consideration at the many oil and gas conferences that fill the calendar, but there are a few exceptions. Earlier this month I was asked to moderate the opening panel at the inaugural Future Downstream conference in London, and it was an eye-opening session. One of the panelists was Blaine Tookey, Technology Principal – Digital Innovation Organisation, BP, who explained that one of the challenges he found in digital was that the downstream businesses were such a conservative industry. “We have big challenges around safety, worker practices, and unions, that make it difficult to get certain technologies adopted,” he says. Although he accepts the challenges, he still sees digital as one of the most impactful areas in his business over the next few years. “We are putting much weight on it,” he says. “We have got a handful of transformative technologies that we are working on.” Amongst the digital technologies in BP’s toolbox are cloud, chatbots, mobile and video. Forbes

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