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May 19, 2022updated 16 May 2022 9:06am

Filings buzz in oil and gas industry: 47% decrease in industrial automation mentions in Q4 of 2021

We've analysed companies' annual reports and other filings to see which key issues are receiving the most attention.

By Data Journalism Team

Mentions of industrial automation 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 industrial automation during 2021 was 41% 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. Industrial automation 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 industrial automation 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 industrial automation at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 73% compared to 61% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to industrial automation.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the oil and gas industry, Honeywell was the company that referred to industrial automation the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 46 industrial automation-related sentences in the US-based company's filings – 0.6% of all sentences. Rosneft mentioned industrial automation the second most – the issue was also referred to in 0.6% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high industrial automation mentions included Transneft, Lukoil, and RIL.

Across all companies in the oil and gas industry, the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on industrial automation came from KMI. Of the document's 2,002 sentences, six (0.3%) referred to industrial automation.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on industrial automation 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 industrial automation 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 industrial automation 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 industrial automation, with 0.19% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in South America mentioned industrial automation in just 0.03% of sentences.

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