The march of technology is changing how we operate, from better and smarter maintenance and repair of our deep water facilities, to finding new energy sources thousands of metres below the earth's surface.
3D printing enables rapid prototyping for engineering designs that save on research and development costs, while Smart Fields technology harnesses digital detection systems that have been known to increase the total amount of oil recovered from a field by up to 10% and natural gas by 5%.
Through our network of technology centres around the world, we work alongside IT companies, consultancies, and research universities.
We also invest in innovative technology companies and start-ups through our venture capital arm, Shell Technology Ventures (STV).
One of our biggest challenges is to locate and develop new resources of oil and gas that society needs, in a way that is economically competitive and environmentally responsible. The digital revolution is helping that transition with affordable sensor technology and storage capacity, making it easier to capture vast volumes of seismic data. For example, Shell has developed and trialled an autonomous underwater inspection vehicle, which propels itself to pre-set locations to record seismic signals before returning automatically to the surface.
Readily available processing power and advanced software allow us to create detailed visualisations. These enhance geologists' ability to peer beneath the subsurface and pinpoint hidden resources.
Helping consumers save
Digital devices are becoming increasingly sophisticated and interconnected. This networking of connected devices, dubbed the “Internet of Things”, is set to change many of traditional assumptions about energy storage and usage.
STV recently invested in Sense Labs, which has developed a connected device that lets households monitor the energy use of any home appliance – not only smart ones – via a mobile app.
New technologies to watch
Shell is working on new digital technologies in several areas which have the greatest potential for our business.