Can Gulf oil company IT budgets survive the price war and coronavirus?

Some forward-looking companies that have launched AI, blockchain, IoT and cloud projects will stick to their plans; users can leverage a potentially soft market to bargain with vendors.

The effects of coronavirus and record low oil prices will force Gulf oil and gas companies to consider tightening their IT budgets. But the more forward-looking companies, including those that have launched digital transformation projects embracing emerging tech like AI and robotic process automation, are likely to stick to their plans, according to enterprise tech leaders and industry observers.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus coupled with a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia -– two of the largest oil producers -– has hammered the price of oil to multi-year lows. This will hit the bottom line of participants in the region's massive energy industry, which produces a fifth of the world's crude oil.

Some tech executives, though, say the oil market turmoil and COVID-19 restrictions will not affect the digital transformation programmes launched at the time of higher oil prices and favorable economic conditions.

ADNOC: Tech drives oil sector efficiency

"Technology, now more than ever, plays an important role in helping the industry drive greater efficiencies, and our overall guiding principle remains unchanged," said Alan Nelson, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co's (ADNOC) chief technology officer.

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