A major study on the oil and gas sector by UK based Lloyd's Register Energy has revealed that technology will have a high impact on extending the life of existing assets and for enhanced oil and gas recovery (EOR).
Instead of a single breakthrough, innovation is drawing on a wide range of technologies.
The Technology Radar Survey was launched at the start of 2014 to find out about the impact of innovation and investment by operators in America, Europe and Asia.
The study revealed factors like safety improvements (45%), improving operational efficiency (44%) and reducing costs (43%) to be major investment drivers across the industry, which are closely followed by accessibility of new reserves (29%) and increasing asset lifespan (27%).
Automation and remote and subsea operation have been identified as solutions to cope with challenging environments in the near term.
High-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) drilling and multi-stage fracking are also expected to have significant impact, but these are likely to be completely deployed only from 2020.
Around 73% of the participants believed that the innovation rate is increasing and around 68% wanted to raise R&D budgets within the next two years.
Of those surveyed, 58% agreed that future breakthroughs involve 'bits and bytes' and not physical hardware.
Lloyd's Register Energy director John Wishart said: "In the near term, automation and EOR are expected to have the greatest impact on the sector; in the medium term, it is high-pressure, high-temperature drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing; from 2025 and beyond, subsea robotics is seen as most promising.
"Initiatives that nurture technical innovation can no longer be an afterthought for business or government; they must be central to any organisation's strategy for sustainable growth and leadership. They are central to our growth too.
"Adapting that sort of thinking into what we do is going to be a very interesting part of how we move forward. We are driving the development of new concepts and technologies through collaborative R&D, and our focus is firmly on innovation -- to benefit our clients and society's future."
UK Onshore Operations Group, Woodside Energy, Enertech, Maersk Drilling, TouGas Oilfield Solutions, Horton Wison Deepwater, Royal Dutch Shell, GE Oil & Gas were the survey participants among others.