Data and analytics firm of the year: OilX

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Data and analytics firm of the year
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Backed by the European Space Agency, The Signal Group, GS Caltex and Citigroup, London-headquartered oil data analytics firm OilX maintained its fast pace of growth in products and services offered to clients over the previous turbulent 12-month period in the global commodities markets, securing itself the 2022 Energy Risk Asia award for Data and analytics firm of the year, as well as becoming the first company to win this prestigious award twice. OilX creates Earth Intelligence solutions for the oil sector by combining satellite observations and conventional oil analytics, using the latest data science techniques to generate a real-time snapshot of the global oil market.

Key to OilX’s business is the view that the previous long-standing model, by which oil traders gained their market intelligence, is extremely limited and does not fully utilise the technology now available. “For more than 50 years, the edge of the oil trader has been ‘boots on the ground’, meaning market participants gained their intelligence edge by owning physical assets or having representative offices in key locations across the globe,” says Florian Thaler, chief executive officer at OilX. “We firmly believe the time has come for a new paradigm – one that at OilX is called ‘eyes in the sky’.”

OilX’s clients do not need a physical presence in key countries such as Libya or Iraq to gain an edge. Through its oil data analytics platform, the company monitors the world’s oil supply and demand, one barrel at a time, with a bold target: zero missing barrels. “We leverage deep sector expertise and combine remote sensing know-how with artificial intelligence [AI] and data from national statistics and customs reports to construct a true digital twin of the oil sector supply chain,” says Thaler. “What is additionally advantageous is that our assessments are released before official reporting and give our clients our view versus consensus estimates, helping them navigate markets with confidence.”

Starting from its strong database derived from satellite data, AI/machine learning, a strong footprint in Asia and the firm belief in “more data, fewer opinions”, OilX also generates a series of data-driven oil research reports that cover key macro- and microbalances in oil markets. In addition, the OilX digital oil analytics bot allows users to query hard-to-get data points within seconds by accessing all of OilX’s data via WhatsApp.

A testament to its core strength of providing unbiased and independent research as its standard, OilX has become a certified member of the European Association of Independent Research Providers, and the company continues to ensure oil traders and analysts are able to access timely, comprehensive and accurate market analysis, identifying key trends and primary outliers.

This commitment to innovation, excellence and client focus remained intact and has been further built out despite the commodities market turbulence that continued over the previous 12 months. “Since 2021, we have expanded our data service to include refined products, biofuels and natural gas liquids, and we’ve added new functionalities, such as an award-winning and much-cited satellite monitoring of oilfields via flaring, together with the European Space Agency,” Thaler says.

The addition of the biofuels modules is in line with OilX’s mission statement to help better inform the energy transition away from fossil fuels. In addition to the development of the company’s data platform, it has greatly expanded its trading research offering. This now includes microbalances around the North Sea Brent and West African Crude oil markets, the RBOB Gasoline contract via the PADD 1 Gasoline Monitor, and OilX has partnered with Insights Global to produce its Weekly Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp Gasoil Monitor.

In parallel with this, and as part of OilX’s core research offering, the company has added the Euro Demand Monitor and the EurOilX: European Refining Monitor to help its clients stay up to date on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Europe market. The forward-looking service – the OilX Forecasting report – further allows OilX clients a view of crude fundamentals in the previous, current and next year. In the same vein, the company has dramatically expanded and increased the frequency of its ad hoc reporting, providing clients with timely market commentaries and adding a fundamental analytics flavour to oil market news flow.

To support such expansion, OilX has increased its headcount by 30%, this organic growth allowing the company to expand its global footprint by opening a new office in Vienna, close to the headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. In tandem with this, OilX has contributed to best practice in trading by providing its clients access to a robust platform with a high-update frequency in the form of Nowcast – the primary unique selling point of its data service. This is predicated on having any element of the ‘balance’ updated on any given day, according to the latest available data.

Thaler concludes: “Driven by our desire to democratise oil major-grade analytics – which, historically, required large teams of analysts, a wide variety of subscriptions and a physical presence in the market – we have nearly doubled our annual revenues in 2022.” 

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