With oil prices hitting record lows, the costs of extraction rising, and politicians pushing for more green energy, 2015 was not a great year for oil and gas companies. To cut costs and increase efficiency, Royal Dutch Shell has been relying on big data to help it make smarter decisions and reduce its environmental impact. The company has begun to use fiber optic cables to gather readings on seismic waves in potential oil fields, which then transfer the data to its private servers. The new technology allows Shell to collect millions of readings and create a more accurate image of how much oil might be extracted from a given site--helping it determine how much money to invest into that site, or whether it should bother with that site at all. The Dutch behemoth has also deployed big data to monitor its machinery, resulting in less breakdowns and failures, which can often contribute to pollution. Thanks to these new tactics, Shell looks likely to retain its title as the fourth-largest company in the world by revenue, despite the turbulent economic and political environment for oil and gas.