While the oil and gas industry has had its share of ups and downs over the past decade, many financial institutions are banking on a very slow growth of oil prices in 2017. Though some believe that the efficiency gains that the oil industry can capture are quickly coming to an end, this sentiment is only capturing hard technology specifically related to oil and gas.
Technology from the IT industry is something that can help bring the O&G industry to the 21st century. Whether it’s neural networks, machine learning, fuzzy logic, case-based reasoning or expert systems, AI has the potential to transform the industry.
Although the O&G industry has been using data to analyse downhole conditions, as the costs of implementation come down, these technologies are being used on smaller and smaller wells. These types of implementations can help provide early warning signals of problems before they happen.
When drilling a hole, machine learning software takes into consideration a plethora of different factors such as seismic vibrations, thermal gradients, and strata permeability, along with more traditional data such as pressure differentials. According to four-year old Seattle-based startup Seeq, this helps to drive drilling decisions such as direction and speed in real time to optimize the drilling operation, and can predict failure of equipment such as semi-submersible pumps (ESPs) to lower unplanned downtime and equipment costs.
Machines doing the learning
On a macro scale, deep machine learning can help to increase the awareness of macroeconomic trends to drive investment decisions in exploration and production (E&P). Economic conditions and even weather patterns can be taken into consideration to determine where investments should take place, as well as the intensity of production. Companies like Kpler have been using geotracking of vessels to help operators make better decisions by using historical trends compared to current trajectories of energy vessels. This type of data can help to determine trends in the energy shipping industry.
Fuzzy logic is an AI mechanism to drive decisions when data is incomplete or unreliable. If an algorithm is designed with a certain number of inputs, fuzzy logic can help overcome deficiencies when one or more sensors is providing spurious or inconsistent data. Fuzzy logic can also help with reservoir characterization, infill drilling, and well simulation where data needs to be extrapolated, or signals need to be gleaned from noise in the data.
Innovate or die
Today’s O&G industry has been transformed by two downturns in the industry in one decade. Although the adoption of new hard technology such as directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing brought on fracking, the O&G industry needs to continue this trend in today’s low-price market to survive. AI has the potential to differentiate between those that continue to thrive, and those that are left behind through complacency.
At The AI Summit in San Francisco on 28-29 September, CxOs from the world’s leading enterprises will gather with the most exciting AI developers to explore the huge opportunity that AI presents the oil and gas industry.
Joining the event will give you a deeper understanding of how AI can positively impact your organisation. To find out more and how to register please visit: https://theaisummit.com/sanfrancisco/