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AI: the energy industry’s untapped resource

Artificial intelligence and robotics look set to transform the nature of work in the energy industry, shifting the focus away from on-site fault-finding to higher-skilled jobs in control centres.

Industrial Internet of Things

The arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has led to the collection and transmission of vast amounts of new and complex data, in the energy sector just as elsewhere. However, this huge inflow of data, gathered via connected devices such as sensors placed along pipelines in oil and gas fields and power plants, needs to be processed, analysed and interpreted if it is to be useful.

Cloud Computing

A handful of oil majors have turned to cloud computing at their in-house data centres to take on the challenge. BP’s state-of-the-art Centre for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) in Houston, for example, is capable of over 11.2 petaflops of processing speed, while the Eni Green Data Centre near Milan now has a computational peak capacity of 22.4 petaflops.

Cloud technology concept.
Cloud technology concept.

These tend to be exceptions rather than a trend in the energy sector. Somewhat surprisingly, companies have been slow to warm to technologies now commonly found in factories, telecommunications and transportation. As noted in Global Human Capital Trends in 2019, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation are only now beginning to be adopted by the oil majors, power companies and grid operators, and only in limited roles.

Artificial Inteligence Application

Ian Phillips of the UK Oil & Gas Innovation Centre describes the current situation: “AI is still in the very early stages of application in oil and gas – generally doing data processing such as analysing trends in a pressure measurement to identify an issue.” Read more https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2019/07/ai-the-energy-industry-s-untapped-resource/

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