Complexity in the oil and gas industry: a study into exploration and exploitation in integrated operations


Publication date


Series/Report no

Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity;4:11



Document type


A common organizational response to the recognition of complexity is the consolidation of collaborative work forms. In the oil and gas industry, developments in communication and automation technologies have enabled the implementation of collaborative environments called integrated operations (IO). The IO concept is usually described as the integration of people, work processes and technology with the goal of facilitating decision-making and process optimization. This study contributes to the study of the knowledge dimension of IOs by investigating the exploitation of existing practices and the exploration of new possibilities in complex adaptive processes. Data collected through observations of practices reveal changes in patterns of interaction among oil platform operators relocated to an IO facility and the emergence of a complex interplay between exploitation and exploration. Rather than a spatial or temporal separation between the two processes, the findings illustrate an organic relation between exploration and exploration in the context of uncertainty and local adaptations in oil production. The discussion of findings provides elements to reflect upon knowledge management in the oil and gas industry.




Permanent URL (for citation purposes)