Digitizing the Oil and Gas Industry

  1. In a landmark Dutch court decision a few weeks ago, Royal Dutch Shell Plc was ordered to slash its emissions harder and faster than planned. While Shell has pledged to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gasses by 20% by 2030 and become net-zero by 2050, the Hague ruled that it must slash emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. While this ruling is only legally binding in the Netherlands, it sets a precedent for other nations currently dealing with climate-change related lawsuits against oil and gas producing companies (over 1800 lawsuits). The industrial equipment utilized by oil and gas producing companies are susceptible to methane leaks, flares, fluid overflows, among others. Methane leaks, being the most detrimental to the environment, are currently poorly managed and poorly predicted.
  2. Andium is a company focused on remote field monitoring of industrial assets, recently narrowing their focus on the oil and gas industry. They are an IoT platform using smart sensors and camera tech to both monitor and make predictive forecasts that target leaks and other issues oil and gas companies may experience. Their marquee service is their flare tracking, which allows clients to track any excessive flaring and be immediately alerted and mitigate unnecessary emissions and gas leaks to stay in compliance, lower emissions, and save money (mostly through regulatory fees).
  3. The main stakeholders for Andium are oil and gas companies (who are also some of the main investors of the startup), and regulators across the board. In order to market their services effectively to oil and gas companies, Andium must demonstrate an accurate and robust understanding of what emissions regulations are and the alert mechanisms for when a company may be on the brink of failing. In addition, if a possible stakeholder for Andium is ‘The World’, sustainability becomes a lofty goal for the company to aspire too, creating alerts that aren’t solely linked to regulations, but specific emissions benchmarks.
  4. In context of the Hague’s decision, Andium has positioned itself as a very likely and important partner for oil and gas company. Their IoT technology can make business processes more efficient, while also maintaining a regulatory backbone that can monitor and risks the company may have. A few challenges Andium may face can be related to shifting and constantly changing laws around the world–Andium must maintain and consistently update their regulatory backbone based on judicial decisions around the globe. In addition, there is a high reputation risk if a client ends up emitting too much methane due a failure in Andium’s monitoring technology.

Sources:

  1. https://www.worldoil.com/news/2021/5/26/shell-loses-precedent-setting-climate-change-case-in-dutch-court
  2. https://andium.com/
  3. https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/08/andium-is-watching-oil-fields-for-emissions-and-just-got-money-from-the-biggest-oil-companies-to-do-it/

Aurora Solar and the data-centric approach to ‘smart solar’

  1. Within the world of solar panels, installers deal with the problem of “too much” and “not enough” data. While an odd problem to be presented with, solar panel installation companies currently do not leverage large amounts of geospatial data, but do require a significant amount of analysis on a per-property basis. The result is a much larger overhead for individual customers whose costs are largely spent on analysis of their property as opposed to the costs associated with actual installations.
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aurora-solar-raises-250-million-to-digitize-solar-installations-301297510.html
    Aurora Solar, funnily enough, does not install solar panels on rooftops. Using geospatial data, Aurora uses larger amounts of data (focusing on blocks, neighborhoods, regions, etc.) as opposed to individual rooftops, to analyze and publish what types and kinds and shapes of solar panels are required for each individual property. Leveraging a shift towards renewable energy, Aurora wants to empower the individuals working in the US and elsewhere around the world installing, managing, and paying for solar panels on their rooftops.
  3. Aurora is a software platform, offering a SaaS offering to solar panel installing companies. These companies use their data to assess and plan for individual installations. A main, albeit not direct, stakeholder is the renewable/solar energy consuming market. Without this market, there is no market for solar panel installing companies.
  4. While Aurora’s sales pitch is quite strong and unique, the company needs to have a competitive offering with what individual solar panel companies may be doing. For example, if it is still cheaper for companies to conduct their own analysis and design on a per-client basis, Aurora may not be an attractive alternative. Moreover, accuracy needs to be a priority. As a SaaS platform, the quality of the geospatial data being utilized needs to be a central focus, leveraging tech that smaller companies may not have access too and may not know what to do with. As I mentioned in the first post, the problem lies in both too much and too little data. Aurora must digest this swath of information and convey it to differing stakeholders in unique but equally powerful ways.