Innovation is critical to the future success of the oil and gas industry. Yet, the sector has a reputation for being conservative and reluctant to adopt new technology with companies sometimes referred to as "fast followers". Compared to other sectors, O&G has a set of unique characteristics that has the potential to hinder technology adoption. Research in other industries indicates that there is a range of sector, organizational and psychological factors that can hinder the introduction of new technologies. Evidence from O&G industry bodies indicate that the psychological factors play a key role in technology adoption; not surprisingly, as workers, managers, investors and regulators can all have a powerful influence on an organisation's receptivity to new technology. The psychological factors do not appear to be well understood but may include risk aversion (Wood Review, 2014), lack of ownership and leadership around technology (OGTC, 2018), and an attitude of reluctance to change (Oil and Gas Authority, 2018).
This new research project is designed to examine how the particular attributes of the upstream oil and gas industry on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf interact with the underlying psychological processes that govern adoption and deployment decisions. The presentation will first outline what can be learned from about the psychological factors that influence technology innovation and adoption from the broader consumer behaviour and human factors literatures. Then the preliminary results of an interview study with stakeholders involved in technology innovation and adoption on the UKCS, will be reported. Roles include senior managers, innovation leads, and end users from a spectrum of established and new comer companies. A summary of the key themes identified will be discussed including personality (e.g. innovativeness), attitude (e.g. risk aversion), cognitive (e.g. risk perception), social (subjective norms) and organisational level factors (e.g. leadership and organisational culture). These results are being used to develop a preliminary framework of the psychological factors that influence technology adoption in O&G and to produce tools and guidelines on how to support the introduction of new technologies.