Indian Oil is the biggest downstream PSU oil company of India. In an interaction with IDG Media, Alok Khanna, Indian Oil's executive director \u2013 information systems, spoke how the company is leveraging emerging technologies to optimize its processes, and empower stakeholders and customer base in an efficient manner.\nEdited excerpts\nWhich specific technologies are transforming the oil and gas sector?\nThere are many technologies on the horizon. In fact, we are currently working on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, chatbots, blockchain, etc., all of which are empowering our business users in decision making.\u00a0\nAlso read:\u00a0Reimagineering Utilities: The evolution of the smart systems\nIndian Oil is adopting these new technologies, and we are looking forward to empower our customers, vendors and employees. AR\/VR is another exciting technology through which we can efficiently impart training to employees.\n\n\n*\/\n\n\/*-->*\/\n\n\n\n\n\u00a0 IoT is still at a nascent phase for this sector and is yet to be developed because sensor installations in oil and gas have not taken place fully. IoT, per se, will definitely serve a lot in saving maintenance costs.\n\n\n\nAlok Khanna\nExecutive Director \u2013 Information Systems, Indian Oil Corporation\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nIn what ways are you leveraging artificial intelligence?\nWe are currently working on a few projects that include sourcing crude oil and related products. We need to go to international markets to source approval. There are a lot of man-hours spent going to different websites and places, searching the prices manually. This is the area where AI is helping us automate the process.\n\n\u201cBlockchain can have a use case in making\u00a0processes transparent and trustworthy. But, on-boarding every stakeholder onto the blockchain will be a challenging process.\u201d\n\nHow is IoT technology helping the oil and gas sector?\nMajorly, oil and gas sector has a lot of big and heavy equipment. I believe IoT is still at a nascent phase for this sector and is yet to be developed because sensor installations in oil and gas have not taken place fully. IoT, per se, will definitely serve a lot in saving maintenance costs.\nYou mentioned blockchain, can you explain how blockchain technology will impact the sector in terms of supply chain management?\nWe are dealing with a lot of vendors and intermediaries, to source the crude. Similarly, we are dealing with numerous customers, wherein we have to provide a lot of product certificates. We also deal with many banks. Of course, many of these parties are untrusted and this is where blockchain can have a use case in making the processes transparent and trustworthy. But, on-boarding every stakeholder onto the blockchain will be a challenging process.\nIndian Oil is in the business of sourcing and transporting oil and gas. How can logistics in the sector be optimized using advanced technologies?\nWe are heavily into logistics of oil and gas through every mode of transportation. In terms of transportation, there are many variables involved such as climate, road conditions, costs, etc. In logistics of course there is a case, using forecasting and analytical tools on top of data collected through internet of things can help optimize safety and reduce costs.