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Booz Allen Hamilton forecasts energy trends in 2017

Dr. Adham Sleiman
Change continues to be the defining feature of the global energy sector this year. In the oil and gas industry, as well as in electric power, major internal and external forces are driving change, requiring industry leaders to revisit strategies.
In oil & gas, 2016 was a year of continued overproduction. The resulting oil inventory overhang finally had an effect in reducing US shale production, but did little to spur demand that is needed to bring the global market into balance.
In the Middle East, a prolonged period of low oil price has impacted government spending but the move toward economic diversification and reduced reliance on oil is prompting greater investment in high-potential sectors including real estate, construction, hospitality, tourism and education. There is also a greater national focus on achieving operational efficiency across sectors — and one notable area that stands to benefit immensely from embracing digitally-enabled solutions is utilities.
The utilities sector has historically under-invested in information technology (IT), but an increasing number of utilities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are waking up to the benefits of smart technology.
In utilities and electric power, the traditional supply chain is undergoing change driven primarily by regulation, public policy, plentiful inexpensive natural gas, and dramatic cost declines in renewable energy and storage.
Dr. Walid Fayad, executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton MENA, said: “Energy and technology form the backbone of global economies and play a crucial role in driving the operational success of all other sectors. As innovation and technological disruption become the norm across the MENA region, we are increasingly seeing regulators and policy makers embracing game-changing trends in the energy sector — from support of renewable energy, advanced metering, and grid modernization to big data and cloud. We expect that wider adoption of these technologies will increase overall operational efficiencies, especially in the wake of a period of prolonged low oil prices.”
Dr. Adham Sleiman, vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton MENA, adds: “Data analytics has emerged as one of the key trends that will shape the future of the energy sector in 2017. Big data is rapidly changing the way the energy sector operates globally — by reducing costs, optimizing investments and reducing overall risk. In order to achieve these objectives, and create additional value from untapped areas, organizations in the Middle East must establish holistic digital strategies that include upgrading their required digital capabilities.

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