Bauer Business Focus

Cell Phone Data and Refinery Outages

Unusual traffic patterns can uncover undisclosed events.



To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

Refinery outages have a substantial impact on local gas prices, but many remain unreported. Assistant Professor of Accounting and Bauer Research Fellow Bin Li at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston says big data may hold the key to keeping markets informed.

“Using the power of big data allows us to uncover significant events that occur in firms that are not usually disclosed.”

“We use cell phone pings to capture unusual patterns of foot traffic at oil refineries. This way, we can gain valuable insights into the frequency and occurrence of refinery outages, which are material negative events for oil and gas firms.”

“Using this technology, we can get a better understanding of the impact of production disruptions on local consumers and investors in the stock market.”

For more stories from the Bauer Business Focus, click here.