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Energy companies look to tech to solve price slump

Molly Wood Jan 13, 2016
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On Tuesday, the price of oil dipped below $30, for the first time in 12 years. The price of oil has fallen more than 70 percent since June 2014, when a barrel of crude was $112.

As oil prices decline companies in the energy sector have looked for new ways to make up the difference.

Kirk Coburn, founder of Houston-based Surge Ventures, which invests in energy startups said oil companies are looking to technology to help pad the bottom line. 

“As prices fall, really the only way to maximize profit or margin is to use technology to change how you do business,” he said. “The focus really is on maximizing uptime and not really thinking about how to drop the cost of production.”

Coburn said in the energy business things do not happen instantly.

“The one thing that you have to realize about the energy business is there’s multiple themes here number one is no one moves quickly on gigantic bets. Now fracking was a 40 to 70 year bet and they worked and worked and worked until someone figured it out,” he said. “I don’t see a technology that’s just going to be a game changer, that’s just going to happen overnight; it’s going to happen slowly overtime.”

However, he did say he believes software is the next big game changer.

“Data is the fast growing sector in this industry. Natural resources, how we produce natural resources, how we deliver those resources, how we run our business has changed,” Coburn said.

Additional production by Praveen Sathianathan.

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