Mighty Ways AI is Making Waves in Oil & Gas

18 March 2021
Los Angeles, CA
Alyssa Cotrina, Beyond Limits


AI solutions are being employed around the world in response to some of the most complex problems facing critical industries today. Enterprise-grade AI has been demonstrating its impact on numerous industries by supporting decision-makers at every juncture of an organization, helping them realize more value from their data and production processes by elevating operations at every level. Businesses, and whole sectors – like the oil and gas industry – are gaining more than just returns on AI implementations; they are seeing credible profits. The oil and gas industry is one of the most substantial sectors already benefiting from AI solutions.
“The global use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the Energy market is forecast to reach $7.78 Billion by 2024.” -Pangea Strategic Intelligence
Good examples of such solutions include Beyond Limits’ suite of industrial-grade artificial intelligence products for the oil and gas industry dealing with a wide-ranging scope of challenges across upstream, midstream, and downstream. Advanced systems like Beyond Limits Cognitive AI are designed to provide transparent recommendations, yielding visibility into operations on a global scale. Such holistic capabilities are being leveraged by stakeholders to attain an improved understanding of how best to utilize their valuable data while gaining greater insight into the role domain expertise and knowledge play in the decision-making process. The result is the extraction of more value from the most valuable assets.
Cognitive AI in Upstream
“Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), a global industry organization, found that nearly 54% of its members are over 55 years old. 44% of Generation Y and 62% of Generation Z say a career in oil and gas is unappealing.” –EY Global
Cognitive AI has the ability to accumulate and encode veteran operator knowledge then circulate resulting expertise, best practices, and industry standards, organization-wide, bridging the knowledge-loss gap currently being experienced by the upstream sector as experienced operators retire. In this way, that valuable knowledge is immortalized, infinitely accessible, and effortlessly transferrable to newer operators.
The hybrid approach of Cognitive AI marries invaluable knowledge with data-driven methods to deal with incomplete or missing data. By modeling hypothetical outlets using machine learning with symbolic artificial intelligence tactics, Cognitive AI equates to the best form of the technology to shrewdly forecast circumstances or results and recommend intentional actions that produce more confident decisions, regardless of data quality or availability. 
Insufficient access to clean data and expert knowledge restricts a stakeholder’s confidence and capacity to make critical decisions in any given second. AI approaches with such advanced prognostic competencies and data accessibility result in rates-of-accuracy and risk mitigation unlike ever before, turning doubts associated with operating under inaccurate, or incomplete models, into confidence.
Cognitive AI in Midstream
Cognitive AI is also being used across the midstream value chain as a solution to helps track the movement of high-value oil and gas assets as they move from one locale to another while simultaneously defining the most strategic destination possibilities during transport. The solution is designed to facilitate more precise port origin determinations, better assess cargo value as it travels, and more effectively predict destination prospects overall.
Such capabilities can significantly decrease ambiguities when this essential information is lacking, thus reducing potentially overlooked trade opportunities as a result. This level of enterprise-grade artificial intelligence aids industry organizations in their endeavors to more precisely define the worth of their most valuable assets, in real-time and on-demand.
AI for autonomous pipeline inspection is another state-of-the-art midstream solution that serves to bring crucial intelligence to the edge, powering robotics systems to navigate on their own and negotiate unforeseen obstacles. This capability creates unparalleled outlets for identifying and reporting on problems to improve pipeline infrastructure maintenance and increase the accuracy of wear and tear predictions while pinpointing investigative process timetables and accelerating decision-making.
Cognitive AI in Downstream
When it comes to the downstream sector, Cognitive AI is being utilized rather extensively to optimize entire operations from supporting engineers and improving coordination between stakeholders to elevating financial performance in delicate market circumstances. In terms of customary downstream processes, profitability is tricky as big challenges the industry faces include slim margins, complicated decision-making, and constant variability. Surpassing, or even simply realizing, profit optimization targets – in and of itself – is often problematic.
Cognitive AI is designed to make all of this easier by providing a more all-encompassing application of best practices, as well as expert human knowledge and experience, to accomplish planning goals. While production teams initially set out to manage systems, processes, and operator performance in order to boost results, real-world operational states in downstream are inclined to stray from original planning expectations, ultimately requiring human mediation.
Luckily, such an advanced solution sets out to support operators by functioning as an expert assistant, bringing entire processes closer to ideal operation. The solution “thinks” like an engineer, providing help through guidance that enables a more efficient method for unraveling problems across facilities. By venturing outside just the scope of conventional, primarily asset-centric tactics, the system aids operators’ efforts to clinch process goals.
“bp’s goal of market-led growth in refining is now easier to achieve because the Beyond Limits advisor allows us to achieve optimized operation closer to 100% of the time and process a significantly higher crude rate.” -bp Innovation and Engineering, Discipline Leader, Intelligent Operations
On the whole, Cognitive AI solutions are employed in the downstream sector to boost operational efficiency, accelerate time-to-decision, and revolutionize analysis approaches to become more conscious of resource utilization and consumption. The system is transparent, offering collaborative audit trails of recommended remedial actions. In this way, every stakeholder can clearly grasp how and why a particular recommendation was given.
By outlining projected performance and embedding mitigation actions, the pioneering solution sets out to help the sector standardize planning processes when creating and applying strategies. This empowers teams to work homogeneously across silos at every level to affect optimal processes and elevate entire operations.
Coming Out Ahead in the Age of Digital Transformation
“Nearly 80% of oil and gas executives said they ‘agree or strongly agree’ that AI will significantly change the way their companies do business in the next five years.” –PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey
Even now, the outlook for artificial intelligence solutions’ impact on oil and gas speaks for itself. As the industry moves rapidly onward and headlong into its digitalization strategies, AI that provides reliable, actionable insights, unparalleled risk mitigation, and transformational efficiency will be the cornerstone for coming out ahead and gaining that crucial competitive edge in this new age of digital transformation.