Mentions of digitalisation within the filings of companies in the oil and gas industry were 31% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than in Q3 of 2020.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalisation between October 2020 and September 2021 was 763% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom 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. Digitalization 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 which have mentioned digitalisation at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 78% compared to 41% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.

Of the 50 biggest employers in the oil and gas industry, Reliance Industries Ltd was the company that referred to digitalisation the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 277 digitalisation-related sentences in the India-based company's filings – 3.4% of all sentences. Schlumberger Ltd mentioned digitalisation the second most – the issue was referred to in 3% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalszation mentions included Rosneft Oil Co, Halliburton Co, and Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd.

Across all companies in the oil and gas industry the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on digitalization came from Rosneft Oil Co. Of the document's 2,421 sentences, 125 (5.2%) 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 digitalization with 0.73% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Canada mentioned digitalization in just 0.03% of sentences.