Electrification of Oil and Gas Industry Operations

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Electrification of oil and gas operations involves replacing equipment and processes traditionally powered by fossil fuels with electric alternatives, powered by clean electricity sources. This transition encompasses a wide range of applications, from upstream drilling and production to midstream transportation and downstream refining. Electrification plays a crucial role in decarbonizing the oil and gas sector by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and lowering operational costs.

Impact on climate action

The electrification of oil and gas operations reduces greenhouse gas emissions by substituting fossil fuel-powered machinery with electric alternatives. This innovation slashes carbon footprints across extraction, refining, and distribution processes, crucial for mitigating climate change. It exemplifies a pivotal shift towards sustainable energy practices in the sector.


Electrifying oil & gas operations requires a combination of technological advancements and strategic implementation:

  • Electric Equipment and Machinery: This involves replacing fossil fuel-powered equipment, such as pumps, compressors, drilling rigs, and vehicles, with electric alternatives. Advancements in electric motor technology, power electronics, and battery systems are driving this transition.
  • Renewable Energy Sources: Clean electricity generated from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal, is essential for powering electrified oil and gas operations.
  • Energy Storage: Integrating energy storage systems, like batteries and pumped hydro, can address the intermittency of renewable energy sources and provide a reliable power supply for electrified equipment.
  • Microgrid Technology: Deploying microgrids at oil & gas facilities can enhance energy resilience, improve energy efficiency, and facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources.
  • Smart Grid Integration: Connecting electrified oil & gas operations to smart grids can enable demand response programs, optimize energy consumption, and improve grid stability.

TRL : 7-9 (depending on the specific technology)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • All-Electric Drilling Rigs: These rigs utilize electric motors and power electronics to replace diesel engines, significantly reducing emissions and noise pollution.
  • Electric Submersible Pumps (ESPs): ESPs are increasingly powered by electric motors rather than gas turbines, improving energy efficiency and reducing maintenance costs.
  • Electric Fracturing Fleets: Replacing diesel-powered fracturing equipment with electric alternatives can significantly reduce emissions and improve operational efficiency.
  • Electric Vehicles for Oil & Gas Operations: Electrifying transportation fleets, including trucks, cars, and heavy machinery, can further reduce emissions and operating costs.
  • Hybrid Power Systems: Combining renewable energy sources with energy storage and conventional power generation can provide a reliable and cost-effective solution for electrifying oil & gas operations.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Electric Equipment Revolution
  • Renewable Energy Integration
  • Energy Storage Solutions
  • Microgrid Deployment
  • Smart Grid Connectivity
  • All-Electric Drilling Technology
  • Electric Submersible Pump Advancements
  • Electrified Transportation Solutions
  • Hybrid Power System Development
  • Electrification of Offshore Operations
  • Energy-Efficient Well Completions
  • Electric Pipeline Infrastructure
  • Smart Monitoring and Control Systems
  • Decarbonizing Refinery Operations

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • NOV (National Oilwell Varco):
    • Technology Focus: NOV is a leading provider of equipment and technology solutions to the oil and gas industry. In the context of electrification, NOV may be developing electric-powered drilling rigs, subsea equipment, or other oilfield machinery that reduces reliance on traditional fossil fuel-powered systems.
    • Uniqueness: NOV’s uniqueness might lie in its comprehensive portfolio of electrification solutions tailored specifically for the oil and gas sector. They may offer innovative electric drive systems, automation technologies, and power management solutions to optimize operations and reduce environmental impact.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments likely include oil and gas companies looking to reduce carbon emissions, improve operational efficiency, and comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations.
  • Schlumberger:
    • Technology Focus: Schlumberger is a global provider of technology and services to the oil and gas industry, with a focus on reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing. In terms of electrification, Schlumberger may be developing electric-powered drilling and production equipment, as well as digital solutions to optimize energy consumption and performance.
    • Uniqueness: Schlumberger’s uniqueness could stem from its expertise in digitalization and data analytics, allowing them to offer integrated electrification solutions that optimize energy usage, reduce costs, and enhance operational efficiency.
    • End-User Segments: Their solutions are likely targeted at oil and gas operators seeking to minimize their carbon footprint, improve energy efficiency, and unlock new revenue streams through digitalization and electrification initiatives.
  • Baker Hughes:
    • Technology Focus: Baker Hughes is a leading energy technology company providing solutions for drilling, formation evaluation, completion, and production. In the realm of electrification, Baker Hughes may be developing electric-powered equipment for various stages of oil and gas operations, including drilling rigs, pumps, and compressors.
    • Uniqueness: Baker Hughes may differentiate itself through its focus on innovation and sustainability, offering cutting-edge electrification technologies that enhance operational performance while reducing environmental impact. Their solutions may also integrate advanced monitoring and control systems for improved efficiency and reliability.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments likely include oil and gas companies seeking to transition towards cleaner energy solutions, improve asset utilization, and achieve greater operational flexibility through electrification initiatives.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • University of Texas at Austin:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are pioneering the integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, into oil and gas operations. They are developing advanced microgrid systems and energy storage solutions to electrify various aspects of oil and gas production, including drilling, pumping, and transportation.
    • Uniqueness of Research: The University of Texas at Austin’s approach involves a comprehensive analysis of the technical, economic, and regulatory challenges associated with electrifying oil and gas operations. They are exploring innovative strategies to overcome barriers to adoption, such as grid reliability, intermittent renewable energy supply, and cost-effectiveness.
    • End-use Applications: The research at UT Austin has implications for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and enhancing the sustainability of the oil and gas industry. By transitioning to electrified operations, companies can reduce their carbon footprint, comply with environmental regulations, and enhance their social license to operate.
  • Texas A&M University:
    • Technology Enhancements: Texas A&M University researchers are focusing on developing advanced electrification technologies specifically tailored for the oil and gas sector. They are designing high-efficiency electric motors, drives, and control systems to replace traditional fossil fuel-powered equipment in drilling rigs, compression stations, and processing facilities.
    • Uniqueness of Research: The uniqueness of Texas A&M University’s research lies in its interdisciplinary approach, combining expertise in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and petroleum engineering to address the technical challenges of electrifying oil and gas operations. They are also collaborating with industry partners to field-test and validate their innovative technologies in real-world settings.
    • End-use Applications: The electrification technologies developed at Texas A&M University have applications across the entire oil and gas value chain, from upstream exploration and production to midstream transportation and downstream refining. By adopting electrified equipment and processes, companies can reduce their carbon emissions, lower operating costs, and improve safety and reliability.
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU):
    • Technology Enhancements: NTNU researchers are leading the way in integrating offshore wind energy with offshore oil and gas platforms to power their operations. They are developing innovative floating wind turbine designs, offshore electrical grids, and power-to-gas conversion systems to harness renewable energy and reduce the carbon footprint of offshore oil and gas production.
    • Uniqueness of Research: The uniqueness of NTNU’s research lies in its focus on offshore electrification solutions tailored for the harsh environmental conditions of the North Sea and other offshore oil and gas regions. They are exploring novel approaches to overcome challenges such as deepwater installation, harsh weather, and limited space on offshore platforms.
    • End-use Applications: The research at NTNU has significant implications for the decarbonization of offshore oil and gas operations, particularly in regions with abundant wind resources. By electrifying offshore platforms with renewable energy, companies can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, minimize environmental impact, and contribute to the transition towards a sustainable energy future.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Electrification of oil & gas operations is gaining traction, with several commercial projects demonstrating its feasibility and benefits:

  • All-electric drilling rigs have been deployed in several onshore and offshore locations, showcasing their ability to reduce emissions and improve operational efficiency.
  • Electric submersible pumps are increasingly being used in oil & gas production, particularly in offshore environments.
  • Several companies are piloting electric fracturing fleets and experiencing significant reductions in emissions and operating costs.