Five AI techniques fit for an oil and gas revolution

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As the global oil and gas industry climbs out of the trough of a two-year-long slump, Sirisha Paladhi takes a look at how applications of artificial intelligence (AI) could be a godsend for a sector that has been slammed by falling profits.  

Everybody in the oil and gas world is looking for operational efficiency to drive cost reduction. AI has the potential to transform the entire industry.

That may be a bold statement, but AI is gradually gaining popularity in optimising, automating and improving business efficiencies and enhancing the overall potency of complex operations the world over. 

aiNovel technology for old problems

Improving efficiency and reducing downtime have been a panacea for oil and gas companies that have seen their profits slashed since 2014.    

The part of the supply chain hit the hardest by the oil price descent was the upstream sector, where the oil is discovered and extracted from the Earth.

When applied to this part of the industry, AI techniques have been shown to markedly boost the success rate at various stages of a project.

In this article, we will take a look at a number of areas in which AI is prompting real change at the front-end of the journey from field to fuel pump.

  • Decision making
  • Location of new reserves
  • Real-time drilling optimisation
  • Exploration and production (E&P) life cycle
  • Drilling capacity

AI improves decision-making

AI creates a simulated experience that plays a vital role in the decision-making process. The majority of senior-level employees among the resource and utility sector adopt AI to manage and organise data.

Moreover, they are dreaming of AI to provide automated customer support, process complex data and automate insight-led decisions.

AI locates new reserves

Generally, geoscientists locate oil reserves using their knowledge and experience with a helping hand from sophisticated technology.

As resources become increasingly scarce and the oil price squeeze has forced E&P levels to 70-year lows, AI can come to the rescue in finding new sources at prospective drilling sites.

The use of machine learning techniques and case-based reasoning to reference previous knowledge of similar situations could save time, money and manpower across the first stage of the E&P process.  

AI in real-time drilling optimisation

AI can be used in optimising the drilling process and enhancing operational efficiency, leading to a reduction in drilling costs.

Drilling engineers employ AI-driven and reality-enabled platforms that have better control over rates of penetration (ROP) enhancement, drilling equipment condition, risk recognition, and procedural decision making.

AI in the E&P life cycle

AI systems have the ability to automate and optimise data-rich processes. They have the potential to mitigate risks, enhance productivity, remove redundancy and minimise operational costs.

When AI intersects with seismic data, the outcome is a much more accurate depiction of the sweet spot sources.

Not only does this precise targeting make the job of the driller easier, it can help to maximise the returns on any drilling activity.