Digital Innovation

Applying digital technologies to drive energy innovation

For more than 135 years, ExxonMobil has harnessed new technologies to better provide energy for the world. That effort continues with a growing focus on digital technology.

We’re using high-performance computing, advanced data analytics, and increased connectivity to transform how we work at every level of our operations and enhance the way we interact with customers. From Internet of Things (IoT) projects that make our refineries more efficient, to state-of-the art digital tools that help support production and detect methane emissions from our operations, ExxonMobil is leveraging our global scale to turn data into unique insights that drive improved reliability and performance. We’re also enhancing our customers’ experience at the pump by offering mobile apps for payment options, customer loyalty programs, and comprehensive car maintenance experiences. We’ve adopted a digital mindset across the company, enabling greater agility, speed, and value without sacrificing discipline and rigor. Meanwhile, we’ve launched exciting collaborations with digital leaders such as Microsoft, IBM, and Intel that allow us to push into new areas – like quantum computing – to help tackle modern energy challenges. Read on for details on digital innovation projects currently underway.

Enhancing our digital capabilities strongly advances our organization’s progress to increase energy access and develop next-generation solutions for our customers. From incorporating virtual reality into our safety training to driving data-based insights in our operations, boundless opportunities exist through digital transformation.
Bill Keillor

Vice president for information technology, ExxonMobil Global Services Company

Exxonmobil's role

Searching for new energy solutions

Advanced computing and data analysis underpin a lot of our research into new energy technologies, including algae biofuels. We augment our in-house resources, which include high performance computer clusters and a staff of data scientists, with partnerships that open up even more opportunity for innovation. For example, in 2019 we signed a potentially pathbreaking agreement with IBM in the field of quantum computing. According to Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development (pictured opposite), this ambitious collaboration aims to provide us with capabilities ‘‘to simulate nature and chemistry that we've never had before.’’

ExxonMobil maintains a fundamental research and development program unmatched in the energy industry. Our goal is to search for new energy solutions that can help us tackle the dual challenge of meeting the world’s growing energy needs while minimizing environmental impacts.

Digital Initiative

Autonomous drilling

ExxonMobil is the first in our industry to leverage autonomous drilling in deep water. We developed a proprietary drilling advisory system, currently being used in our Guyana operations, that leverages artificial intelligence to determine the ideal parameters for drilling. It also allows for closed-loop automation, which controls the drilling process without human intervention.

Combining more than a century of drilling experience into an automated system to maximize rates of penetration while minimizing technical issues provides multiple benefits for our operations. First, this technology improves drilling safety and efficiency through consistent, repeatable operations. Second, it eliminates repetitive tasks for rig personnel, allowing them to focus on other work. 

Digital Initiative

Big Data in the oilfield

ExxonMobil is collaborating with Microsoft to use IoT technologies in our operations in the Permian Basin to monitor and optimize a vast number of widely dispersed field assets. Data is collected from an extensive network of sensors and stored in the cloud, allowing our engineers, scientists, and analysts seamless, real-time access from anywhere. The insights we glean from this data are used to enable performance optimization and workflow automation. Over the course of a field’s life this can lower costs, increase production, and reduce methane emissions.

Using advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to make our Permian operations more efficient is a first step as we move towards closed-loop automation, a process that allows systems to recognize and respond to events without human intervention.

Digital Initiative

Digital operations

ExxonMobil has rolled out an industry-leading IoT project that enables us to collect all operating data from our refineries and chemical plants — over 6 trillion individual data points — into a high performance computing environment “data lake.” By applying advanced analytics to this data, we can unlock new ways for our sites to run more efficiently and at higher reliability, while potentially reducing emissions.
Digital Initiative

Consumer applications

New digital solutions are transforming the experience we provide to our customers, from lubricant analysis to pay-at-the-pump mobile applications to digitally enabled car maintenance offerings.

ExxonMobil is collaborating with IBM, Amazon and other digital leaders to offer consumers new payment options at Exxon- and Mobil-branded service stations in the U.S., including ‘Alexa, pay for gas.’  This digital technology, leveraging your vehicle’s Alexa-enabled device or the Alexa app, provides a new contactless method of payment for our retail consumers with potential to reach over 60 million US households that leverage Alexa in their home and on the go.  

ExxonMobil is also working with technology companies to develop digital platforms bringing suppliers together with customers and consumers to provide a superior mobility experience. ExxonMobil is teaming up with Tencent, Tuhu, and a distribution holding company to establish an car maintenance experience built on a digital framework. The joint venture will grow the Mobil 1 car care network in China and leverage the strength of all the partners to provide a high-quality, digitally enabled, comprehensive car maintenance experience.

Digital Initiative

Innovation finds home in the digital garage

From search engine giants to sophisticated computer manufacturers, some of the biggest names in the tech industry are known for their humble beginnings – a makeshift workspace in a garage. And, some of ExxonMobil’s greatest emerging technologies also start in its “digital garage,” though the workspace there is cutting-edge, rather than makeshift. Learn more about the digital garage

energy factor

Building a connected future one digital step at a time

Our new Speedpass+ app provides low-fuel alerts and GPS-derived directions to the nearest Exxon or Mobil gas station, and lets drivers pay for their fill-up by voice.
Learn more

More on research and innovation

Smart technologies for a smart refinery From voice recognition to machine learning, ExxonMobil’s chemical and refining plants are installing a number of “smart technology upgrades” targeted at reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency.

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Research partners Energy Factor Jan. 14, 2021

Engineering solutions to the plastic waste challenge When people ask me what I do, I usually give the easy answer: “I’m an engineer.”

What that really means is my work is about finding solutions. We engineers use our technical expertise to enhance products and processes, develop novel technologies and try to find solutions to complex challenges. The challenge of plastic waste is a perfect example.

Energy and innovation Blog Dec. 8, 2020

Researching solutions for lower emissions With more than 20,000 scientists and engineers around the world, ExxonMobil is a leader in energy innovation.

Energy and innovation Energy Factor Sept. 23, 2019

Innovating energy solutions: Research and development highlights

R&D has been part of ExxonMobil’s DNA since our company began more than 135 years ago. Our innovations have helped provide the energy fundamental to modern life – from the clean, efficient fuels that power today’s transportation to the natural gas that provides light and heat to homes and businesses.

Today, our world faces a dual challenge: meeting growing demand for energy while also reducing environmental impacts, including the risks of climate change. ExxonMobil is committed to doing our part.

Energy and innovation Article July 15, 2019