Analytics has been a key theme for Shell Energy CIO Clare Patterson, who works in the oil company's Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Ltd business. Her function created a cloud-based platform using data feeds from IoT sensors in wind and solar farms to optimise European power trading, operations and market insights in renewables forecasting. Its success has already been recognised throughout the business and will now be extended to other commodities and regions.

It has been the same story with shipping, where she has been experimenting with predictive analytics to improve the fuel efficiency of LNG vessels. The combination of historic data of voyages with weather forecasts is helping to optimise bunkering and the loading of a vessel to sit at its most efficient level in the water. The tool will provide the data on mobile apps for remote crews, and automate ship performance analytics and dashboards of live insights to freight traders and operators.

She hosted a machine learning competition to predict gas prices, with 25 teams taking part. It encouraged experimentation with the new technology and generated insights into the price forecasting challenges. The lessons have been taken forward into a machine learning proof of concept.

The year also saw her launch a VR headset pilot to immerse analysts in data in a shared virtual collaboration area. The ongoing objective is to enable teams in different regions to interpret the data and create shared predictions.

And just a little further back from the leading edge, in 2017 her unit created a cloud-based customer portal to allow industrial customers across Europe to view their power consumption and sources. This will support the business in winning contracts to provide customers with the energy packages and renewables mix they want.