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Digital Economy Management

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Gas oil sector by Industry 4.0.: transfer to renewable energy sources and digitalization results

Харланов Алексей Сергеевич

The energy industry is undergoing qualitative changes that have far-reaching implications for the global energy sector and its key players, including oil and coal companies and non-renewable energy exporting countries. However, it is impossible to accurately predict the speed of the transition. In addition, it is difficult to determine what the final energy balance will be, as the outcome of the transition is likely to depend on the region. For Russia, this topic is all the more relevant since the importing countries of its oil and gas are at the same time pioneers in the digital transformation of the industry and the transition to renewable sources, which creates additional economic and foreign policy risks. The study provides an overview of the prerequisites and benefits of switching to renewable energy sources from an environmental, economic and technological point of view. The essence and content of digital transformation in the context of achieving the UN sustainable development goals and the Paris Climate Agreement are characterized. The concept of the “fourth energy transition” by Vaclav Smil is considered as the most important strategy for the development of modern energy and adaptation to the challenges of an unstable world with its uneven and often ineffective access and use of fossil natural resources. The dynamics of world consumption of energy resources (biomass, coal, oil, gas and new renewable sources) from 1860 to the present and for the forecast period until 2040 is analyzed. An increase in the share of unconventional sources is noted. Learning curves describing the economies of scale are considered: a decrease in the cost of generating a kilowatt-hour when increasing energy capacities for solar panels and wind turbines of various designs. Examples of the experience of the largest renewable energy producing countries and cases of successful companies on the digital transformation of modern energy consumption are presented. The state of renewable energy in the Russian Federation is assessed in comparison with world leaders (China, USA). It is concluded that a successful digital transformation of the oil and gas industry is possible only with sufficient economic efficiency of this process, which will require significant investments at the initial stages of the life cycle of digital innovations, but will lead to a more rational distribution of world energy in the long term.