Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology is demonstrating not just essential but also transformative for those operating in a multitude of industries. Oil and gas administrators are no exception: Applying disruptive technology applications like predictive analytics, and machine learning (ML), can help industry insiders improve performances and could cut investments by $50 billion in upstream oil and gas activities alone. However, AI’s impact on the industry extends beyond cost savings, offering several potential benefits. Oil and gas executives must understand what’s at stake — and what they stand to achieve.
Application of artificial intelligence in the oil and gas business
In January 2019, BP funded in Houston-based technology start-up Belmont Technology to reinforce the company’s AI capabilities, developing a cloud-based geoscience program nicknamed “Sandy.” Sandy allows BP to evaluate geophysics, geology, historical, and reservoir project information, building unique “knowledge-graphs.”
The AI intuitively connects information together, identifying new connections and workflows, and utilizes these to create a robust image of BP’s subsurface assets. The oil business can then consult the data in the knowledge-graph, with the AI utilizing neural networks to conduct simulations and interpret results.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is obtaining the use of AI in similar ways, with the UK’s premier oil and gas National Data Repository (NDR), launched in March 2019. The NDR comprises 130 terabytes – the equivalent of around eight years’ merit of HD movies – of geophysical, support, field, and well data. This data includes more than 12,500 wellbores, 5,000 seismic studies, and 3,000 pipelines.
The NDR uses AI to interpret this information, in which the OGA hopes will uncover new oil and gas possibilities and enable more production from existing foundations. The OGA also anticipates the AI-driven platform to be a component of the UK oil & gas industry’s energy transition, with its reservoir and foundation data supporting future carbon capture, method, and storage projects.
AI can also be used to make transactions on oil & gas platforms safer. In March 2019, Aker Solutions collaborated with tech business SparkCognition to improve AI applications in its ‘Cognitive Operation’ initiative.
SparkCognition’s AI systems will be utilized in an analytics solution platform called SparkPredict, which controls topside and subsea foundations for more than 30 offshore constructions. The SparkPredict platform utilizes machine learning algorithms to analyze sensor data, which facilitates the company to identify suboptimal operations and imminent failures before they occur.
Shell adopted comparable AI software in September 2018, when it partnered with Microsoft to consolidate the Azure C3 Internet of Things (IoT) software platform into its offshore services. The platform uses AI to drive effectiveness across all sections of Shell’s maritime infrastructure, from drilling and removal to employee empowerment and security.
The prospect of AI
AI has already been consolidated into several sectors within the oil and gas industry as part of global attempts to transform exploration and production operations digitally. But what is the prospect of AI technology in the oil and gas industry?
The industry seems to have immediately accepted digital technologies such as AI and is confident about the potential of this technology. Aker BP Improvement, SVP Per Harald Kongelf stated, “The oil and gas industry is confronting a rapidly changing digital landscape that needs cutting-edge technologies to cultivate maturity and success.”
IBM senior manager Brian Gaucher stated, “Cognitive environments and technologies can cause decision-makers together, help them seamlessly bestow insights, bring in heterogeneous data collections more fluidly, and enable target investigation and simulation.”