Blockchain: Explaining a Complex New Tech + Impact on O&G

We don’t know about you, but hardly a day goes by we don’t notice the word “blockchain” in the headlines. Increasingly that word is used in oil and gas news. We had some vague idea that blockchain has something to do with digital currency–using Bitcoin instead of dollars. Whatever Bitcoin is! So what could blockchain possibly have to do with oil and gas? As it turns out, blockchain the technology is much more than just a technology that makes digital currency possible. We spotted an article on the World Oil website about blockchain and took the opportunity to dig into this new tech sweeping the world by storm. Put simply, blockchain is an ironclad “way of tracking things.” Those things can be money (the earliest adopter of the technology), but also other things, like legal documents. The technology can also be used to guard against hackers breaking into a company’s network. Cybersecurity is often mentioned as a huge benefit of using blockchain in the oil and gas industry. Blockchain tech can protect against hackers breaking into a remotely controlled drilling rig, for example. Or breaking into a computer that controls shipments of goods and materials. Drilling companies have some of the most complex logistics operations in the world. They plan out drilling new shale wells up to a year in advance, coordinating it so that trucks hauling equipment (even the rig itself) arrive on the exact day they need to be there. And they coordinate deliveries of water and sand used in fracking–down to the day those deliveries need to arrive, figuring out how to get them shipped via train and truck. A year in advance! Can you imagine a hacker breaking into a network and screwing with that information? It could be economically catastrophic for the driller. Blockchain guards against it. Here’s more about blockchain and how it’s coming (fast) to the shale industry…

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