Mentions of digitalisation within the filings of companies in the oil and gas industry fell 47% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021. In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalisation during 2021 was 752% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When companies in the oil and gas industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports, and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalisation is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether digitalisation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the oil and gas industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned digitalisation at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 77% compared to 39% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the oil and gas industry, RIL was the company which referred to digitalisation the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 264 digitalisation-related sentences in the India-based company's filings – 3.5% of all sentences. Schlumberger mentioned digitalisation the second most – the issue was referred to in 2.9% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalisation mentions included Rosneft, Lukoil, and Honeywell.

Across all companies in the oil and gas industry, the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on digitalisation came from Motor Oil Hellas. Of the document's 1,834 sentences, 25 (1.4%) referred to digitalisation.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalisation and how important the issue is considered within the oil and gas industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning digitalisation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalisation have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, companies in the oil and gas industry based in Eastern Europe were most likely to mention digitalisation with 0.67% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Canada mentioned digitalisation in just 0.03% of sentences.