Hopeful software engineers may assume that their career options are limited to development for internet-based software companies. But software engineering has a lot of highly valuable real-world applications for businesses.
With the oil and gas sector in Australia being worth around 103.5 billion dollars in 2022, they have the means to expand and work with software engineers to create cutting-edge software.
There is also the need to try and better control the fluctuations experienced in oil and gas. Given the uncontrollable aspect of external market conditions, the application of new technologies such as software will only increase in best practices.
Software usage in the Oil and Gas Sector
There are a lot of different applications for using software in oil and gas operations, but they all sit under the same fairly broad software category. Their business use is dependent on each particular business case, but you can largely expect oil and gas software to support practices in exploration, extraction, engineering, production, asset management and even day-to-day maintenance and running of business operations.
This kind of software can be used by business teams like pipeline, producers, plant and field ops, and supports a number of roles in the industry: operations staff, management, scientists and engineers themselves.
Here are just a few of the reasons why software engineering is important in the oil and gas industry, with a few examples of popular software to inspire you to think bigger:
Before a project commences, the land needs to be analysed to ensure stability, quality, and safety. Nowadays, this software – often referred to as exploration software – utilises artificial intelligence and high-tech sensors to survey the potential drilling site fully, and provide valuable rock properties maps to support the observed geophysical data.
The benefits of using exploration software allow users to identify and better evaluate deposits of resources and minerals – everything from their size to their accessibility. Users can then help feel more confident about whether extraction is viable or not, particularly surrounding the risks and hazards of such extraction.
Exploration software also integrates with other oil and gas software like simulation and modelling, to streamline extraction and production in field operations, and ultimately support the bottom line for the organisations who use them.
A software called geoSCOUT has been developed for this specific business purpose, as it allows its users to visualise and analyse potential energy sources – and with other companies bringing out alternatives all the time, this is a very interesting engineering field to be involved in.
When oil and gasoline are extracted from the earth, they need to be heavily processed before they are ready for use in an infrastructure. Creating and implementing software that can analyse and separate different components of natural resources is an essential part of the industry.
One example of a chemical processing software is CHEMCAD, which is used to increase the productivity and safety of chemical handling by allowing users to simulate the processing of a huge range of chemical components such as gases, liquids, solids and electrolytes.
This kind of gas software can be used outside of the oil and gas industry, in areas such as engineering firms and even pharmaceutical companies, and has a high range of business uses – hence, a high need for skilled software engineers!
Every business strives for more efficient practices, and oil and gas are no different. This is an extremely profitable industry, but it also costs a lot of money, time, and resources to run a successful business. Therefore, working with software engineers to improve the efficiency of their day-to-day operations can be key to a company’s success.
Software like AVEVA Engineering can be used by oil and gas companies to improve workflow and efficiency, as its main purpose is to empower teams across a company to work together – regardless of their specific disciplines or specialities. So instead of company engineers working in silos, this kind of software supports communication and collaboration between all teams, whether they’re working on pipe stress, safety or another area.
Maintaining Workplace Safety
Working in the oil and gas industry can be a dangerous profession. To keep employees safe and make sure local government regulations are met, it is important for oil and gas companies to utilise workplace safety and training software.
This software has highly specialised training purposes for workers in oil and gas, with a heavy emphasis on educating workers in best practice safety procedures. It can help employees stay up to date on which areas are currently unsafe to enter, perform risk assessment quicker, and give them an easy way to report injuries or incidents.
Training and safety software also allows for the optimisation of resources and equipment usage, because when equipment is used safely, it can speed up productivity, minimise disruptions and most importantly, support the safety of the workers who use it.
An example of oil and gas workplace safety software is Sospes EHS, with features such as mobile audits and inspections, safety incident reporting, contributing incident factors and root cause analysis, and even investigation support and witness reporting.
Given the immense profitability of the oil and gas sector, there are malicious threat actors who would love to get their hands on the data these companies have. Data security is incredibly important for this reason.
Oil and gas companies enlist the help of data security specialists and software engineers to manage and protect their data. Hackers always find new ways to exploit the system – software development and engineering is always needed to ensure any found loopholes have been patched so the data stays secure.
There is no specific encryption and data security software for oil companies, but they could utilise some of the best, such as IBM Guardium, an activity and audit tracking tool that provides system administrators with access to events across multiple databases, and Atos, an application that was created to try and significantly reduce the costs within the energy industry by transforming and digitising oil and gas companies, using digital twin, cloud, edge computing and AI to drive down costs and drive up production.
Management and Office Technology
Like any business, oil, and gas companies need computer software to do clerical and data entry tasks. For companies as large and as lucrative as those who operate in this space, the most high-tech and robust management software is needed.
These types of software applications allow for lower operating costs in many areas. You can imagine how valuable that type of cost-cutting would be in an industry such as oil and gas. Especially with
Working as a Software Engineer for the Oil and Gas Industry
There are a lot of choices for the software needed in the oil and gas industry, but where does the engineer actually come into play?
Here are a few reasons why people with solid software engineering skills are a vital part of the team in the oil and gas industry:
Problem-solving is one of the key skills software engineers need, and it is also vital in the oil and gas industry. Software needs to be created or modified to solve problems employees face, such as slow systems or recurring data breaches.
Software engineers are hired to improve the system and implement new ones in order to solve problems.
People get set in their ways when it comes to their workflow, but there is always room for improvement or optimisation. Software engineers can help to speed up tasks and optimise the work experience based on the specific needs of that business or the industry as a whole.
It would be ideal if every software worked exactly how it was supposed to every time, but sadly, this is not the case. End users push software to its limits and can find problems that software engineers didn’t think of during the testing process.
When problems arise, it is up to the software engineers on staff to mend the problems as quickly and easily as possible, since a delay in the problem being solved could mean a ton of work being lost.
Are software engineers needed in all industries?
The oil and gas industry is just one example on an enormous list of powerful conglomerates that utilise software engineers and, of course, pay them handsomely for it. You would be hard-pressed to find a type of business that has no need for software.
Software engineers are in high demand, and for good reason. Even the most old-school companies are giving in and transitioning from paper forms to an all-digital workflow, and it takes the hard work of software engineers to make that happen.
Every industry has a need for software and a role for software engineers in their business. Whatever you are passionate about and wherever you want to go, there is room for you to bring your skills as a software engineer with you.
Becoming a Software Engineer
The applications for software engineering are vast and full of great money-earning opportunities.
The best part? You don’t need a bachelor’s degree in computer science to get your start. It’s time you kickstarted your education and get you on the path to your ideal career.
Book a consultation to find out more about our software engineering programme.