Challenges for sustainable development strategies in oil and gas industries

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The oil and gas industries remain an important drive for the world economy. On one hand, global demand for fossil fuels is still rising, and on the other hand, companies face complex investment challenges due to the harsh operational environment of exploration and production activities. Workforce regulations aim to provide a safe and secured working environment. However, exploration and production activities still cause local and global environmental risks such as groundwater contamination, or climate change in broader scale. Analyzing and reporting mechanisms are key performance indicators of sustainable development at the level of oil and gas companies. Obtaining and analyzing required data, nevertheless, seem to be a persistent challenge as to what degree these findings can affect the routine and strategic decisions of the oil and gas companies. In order to enable oil and gas companies to measure and control risks and manage incidents, artificial intelligent technologies in extended monitoring and supervising E&P operations is known to be an efficient prevention strategy. Such tools not only aid in profitability of the oil and gas companies, but also increase awareness of environment and climate change to act more responsibly. In this study, the significances of environmental policies were investigated through interviews with executives and stakeholders, revealing that the implementation of environmental protection policies is affected by the financial stability of the companies, and under severe economic situations, companies seem less enthusiastic in strictly implementing those policies. This paper provides a comprehensive review of emerging technologies in addressing existing and foreseen challenges in sustainable development in oil and gas industries, with the aim of suggesting prime solutions for strategic planning attempts.

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