Key Takeaways | The Growth of Early Stage Technology Company Investment and Development in Energy and Oil and Gas

By and on December 16, 2021

How is technology affecting the energy industry? In the latest webinar in the Energy Transition series, McDermott Will & Emery Partner Parker A. Lee hosted Shawn Helms, co-head of McDermott’s Technology and Outsourcing Practice Group, Nadine Herrwerth, managing director at TWTG, and BJ Walker, managing director at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co for a 30-minute discussion where they opined on the current and future impact technology plays on conventional and renewable energy companies.

Below are key takeaways from the webinar:

1. Industrial Internet of Things (I-IOT). I-IOT products and services can be used to improve site safety and efficiency. I-IOT products have the capability to monitor equipment, such as valves and temperature sensors on machinery, and record data on external dashboards for analysis and alerting. Through the use of data analysis, data gathered by I-IOT products can identify trends, build models and detect future equipment failure. As a result, I-IOT products and services can increase the efficiency, reliability and safety of equipment.

Though the application of I-IOT devices is relatively new to the industry, these products are capable of being retrofitted to established and already operational sites.

2. Technology Companies and Energy. While technology companies are large consumers of energy output, they can also provide significant insights and intelligence in regard to energy use and production. Synergies between technology and energy industries are continuously evolving and providing improvements in energy investments, efficiencies and reliability. For example, drones are capable of leveraging artificial intelligence to increase efficiency and consistency of equipment monitoring and inspections, particularly equipment that is located in remote areas (such as offshore).

3. Investor Focus on the Energy Space. An important theme in the oil and gas industry is the recent focus on transforming the industry to a generator of cashflow. In attracting new investors to the energy industry, particularly as new technologies are introduced, investors should know there is typically a longer wait period to receive a return on investment than what a general investor would commonly expect. In addition to general investors, technology companies are investing in renewable energy sources for purposes of environmental responsibility and in order to power their own enterprise. It is expected that this trend will continue to grow in energy intensive areas, such as the cryptocurrency space.

4. Technology in Traditional Oil and Gas. Although not widely appreciated, the oil and gas industry has always been heavily reliant on technology and an area where revolutionary technologies are developed—and that is certainly the case today. Because oil and gas professionals are proficient with, and conversant in, the application of new technologies, look to those professionals to be industry leaders in the energy transition as new businesses and products are developed.

To access past webinars in this series and to begin receiving Energy updates, including invitations to the webinar series, please click here.

Parker A. Lee
Parker A. Lee advises companies and investors in evaluating and executing transactions and commercial contracts in the energy and infrastructure industries. He represents clients in various domestic and international oil & gas, power, water, petrochemical and infrastructure M&A, project development and joint venture transactions. Read Parker Lee's full bio.


Shawn Helms
Shawn C. Helms is co-head of the Firm’s Technology & Outsourcing Practice. Shawn has broad experience in the areas of information technology, outsourcing, telecommunications, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI). He focuses his practice on complex transactions involving technology and intellectual property, including information technology outsourcing (ITO), business process outsourcing (BPO), licensing, cloud computing arrangements (IaaS, SaaS and PaaS), technology maintenance and services, technology development/customization (including iPhone and Android), wireless infrastructure, AI, robotic process automation (RPA), social media issues, strategic alliances, e-commerce, internet of things (IoT), confidentiality, strategic sourcing and data security/privacy. He has considerable experience in blockchain and cryptocurrency matters including NFTs and enterprise blockchain applications. Read Shawn Helms's full bio.

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