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Top Five Innovations in Oil and Gas Drilling

Companies are leveraging oil and gas drilling technologies to increase safety and efficiency.

The pursuit of innovation has always been at the forefront of oil and gas extraction. While the energy transition is well underway, the demand for traditional fossil fuels will continue. As such, oil and gas drilling continuously pushes boundaries to discover reserves and enhance extraction methods for a safer, more efficient, and sustainable future.

Emerging technology leads the charge when it comes to innovation and oil and gas companies need to stay ahead to remain competitive.

The 5 Most Interesting Advancements in Oil and Gas Drilling

1. Horizontal Drilling

Horizontal oil and gas drilling operates much like an elongated straw that extends outward to draw up every bit of milkshake from a wide glass. In the world of oil and gas extraction, it enables rigs to extract for miles after reaching a certain depth that significantly expands volume, by a single well. This allows companies to maximize their profits from each well. But the advantages don’t stop there.


  • Environmental: Horizontal drilling is particularly valuable for tapping into deposits located beneath obstacles or environmentally sensitive areas. For example, it permits companies to drill from platforms to access reserves thus reducing environmental impact. In other words, one horizontal well can replace several vertical wells to get the same volume of resources.
  • More oil from one well: By establishing a wellbore that intersects reservoir rock across a distance, horizontal drilling enables companies to extract more oil and gas from individual wells ultimately cutting down on drilling expenses.

2. Seismic Imaging

Oil and gas drilling has come a long way since the days of relying on natural oil seeps on the surface. When it comes to finding resources, technology is king. Today, seismic imaging is used to explore beneath the surface. By sending sound waves through rock formations companies can generate images of possible oil and gas deposits.


  • Better Accuracy: Workers can pinpoint oil and gas deposits with greater accuracy, reducing the risk of drilling dry wells. Furthermore, sound waves can also provide data on how porous certain rock formations are, which can help determine the amount of resources present in that area.
  • Reduces Costs: Increased accuracy allows companies to maximize their oil and gas drilling operations, saving time and money.

3. Big Data

Big data is defined as large data sets, both structured and unstructured, from a variety of sources, that businesses can mine to help inform decisions. In the oil and gas sector, this could include sensor readings on drilling rigs, predictive analytics, and geological surveys.

More than ever, companies are relying on big data. In fact, the global big data oil and gas market size was 20.23 billion USD in 2022 but is expected to reach 100.49 billion by 2032.


  • Predictive maintenance: By analyzing sensor data from drilling equipment, big data can predict equipment failures before they happen, preventing costly downtime and safety risks to workers.
  • Operational efficiency: Big data, with the help of machine learning algorithms, can analyze data from past drilling projects to pinpoint the most efficient drilling parameters for different rock formations. This can lead to faster drilling times and reduced costs.
  • Exploration breakthroughs: Through the analysis of vast datasets of geological data, companies can identify potential new oil and gas reserves that traditional exploration methods might have overlooked.

4. Robotics

Nothing sounds more futuristic than robotics. But robots in oil and gas operations are far from those seen in the Terminator movies. Furthermore, when you combine robotics with automation, upstream companies that leverage this technology are at the forefront of efficiency.


  • Improved safety: Similar to how police agencies use robots (instead of humans) to dismantle bombs, upstream energy companies also use them in high-risk environments. These may include some offshore drilling rig or oil well operations.
  • Increased precision: Humans are smart. But sometimes robots are smarter. Robots can execute operations more accurately and consistently and with fewer mistakes than humans. This would ultimately enhance drilling operations.
  • Reduced labor costs: Automation and robotics can help to reduce labor costs associated with drilling operations.

5. Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and Drones:

Sending humans to operate drilling equipment can be dangerous and expensive, especially in deep water environments where pressure and distance pose significant risks.


  • Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs): It is estimated that 20% of all oil rigs in the world are below the surface of the water (What Next Global). The best and safest way to operate these rigs is through ROV technology. These submersible robots are controlled remotely by human operators from a safe distance. ROVs can be equipped with a variety of tools and sensors to perform tasks like well maintenance, inspection, and repair.
  • Drones: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are finding increasing use in oil and gas exploration and production. They can be used to collect data from offshore drilling operations, map exploration areas, and provide environmental insights.

Continue Riding the Technology Wave with the Best Innovative Partner

These innovations not only promise to unlock new oil and gas reserves but also to do so in a more efficient, sustainable, and safer way. The road ahead for the oil and gas industry is paved with exciting technological advancements and we’re only just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Ai is beginning to play a huge role in operational efficiency, and it will be interesting to see how companies harness its power.

Digitizing your contractor management process is another excellent way for you to leverage technology for operational efficiency. Consider partnering with Veriforce to help you meet your goals and keep your workers safe.

Contact us today to learn more.


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