Oil traders are tracking the mobile phones of oilfield workers


Oil traders are tracking the mobile phones of workers at any given plant in the U.S, looking for the arrival of support crews that could signal a shutdown at a  refinery. In the $40 trillion global oil-trading market, the smallest clue can be worth millions.

While most geolocation data use has focused on consumer-facing businesses such as retailers, hotels and amusement parks, “valuable insights can be gleaned from the data by examining activity at specific manufacturing facilities,” said Octavio Marenzi, co-founder of Opimas LLC, a capital markets management consultant. Thasos Group has used the data to show increases in shifts at Tesla Inc.’s factory in Fremont, California, the Wall Street Journal reported. – oilandgas360

One company mining this information is Orbital Insight Inc., which uses mobile phone geolocation data — providing the times and locations for individual devices — to track staffing changes. The Palo Alto, California-based company, which also monitors global oil inventories via satellite imagery, says it can access location data for more than 800 million mobile devices worldwide through vendors. – Bloomberg

Axel Pierron, managing director of Opimas, notes that “the mainstreaming of ESG data means that it is becoming standard market data,” with spending that will hit $745 million by 2020.

Opimas expects that asset managers will spend about US$250 million annually on mobile geolocation data by 2020. This figure covers not only spending on data sources, but also on data science, predictive analytics, IT infrastructure, and related data management. Octavio shared his perspective on the growing use of alternative data, including mobile device geolocation data, and what it portends for consumers and, even more, the capital markets with The New York Times reporters Jennifer Valentino-DeVries and Natasha Singer.

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