Many business leaders are quickly exploring options for using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve productivity, reduce errors, manage costs and more.
Many business leaders are quickly exploring options for using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve productivity, reduce errors, manage costs and more. Applications of AI in oil industry processes are becoming increasingly important, and you can expect to see even more of them soon. People generally rely on this technology to improve their efficiency and seek innovative methods.
Maximizing offshore oil results
Offshore oil extraction can be dangerous and complicated, with those involved facing safety threats related to isolated areas, bad weather, strong currents and other variables. However, a multinational oil and gas company aims to tip the scales in its favor with AI. If managers have reliable oil field data, they can better decide how many employees to send to each site and when.
This solution relies on advanced algorithms that process massive amounts of seismic data, allowing workers to find new sources of oil. Representatives also said this approach could create subsurface images with fewer scans, resulting in less disruption to underwater life. Most notably, explorations that previously took nine months now take place in nine days or less.
Resolve queries faster
Leveraging AI in oil industry processes means identifying the best ways to capitalize on human expertise and give employees enough time in their workday to focus on tasks that add the most value to the business.
Leaders can ease the burden on the customer service team by supplementing team members’ efforts with AI-powered conversational chatbots. This is an increasingly popular option, but it has some limitations. Some tools sometimes offer seemingly precise but non-factual answers. However, one way to avoid this outcome is to program the chatbot only to recognize and respond to specific questions. Customer service representatives can then handle the most complicated situations.
For example, executives at a Norwegian oil exploration and development company wanted about 2,000 employees to use an internal chatbot similar to a search engine that would return results specific to their workplace documents and policies.
Initially, a team of administrative assistants handled questions regarding supply chain management, training requirements, human resources and other necessities. However, they were quickly overwhelmed by the volume of requests and the repetitive nature of some questions. Responding to them took them away from other tasks constituting their main responsibilities.
The chatbot could handle almost any question, saving dozens of hours per week. The use of these tools in the oil industry is not yet widespread, but these resources can pay off when deployed strategically to meet identified needs.
Improve maintenance measures
Sudden equipment downtime can be extremely costly, posing additional risks to workers and the environment. However, the application of AI to oil industry maintenance procedures provides additional visibility, allowing users to detect and respond to anomalies before production shutdowns occur.
Oil industry professionals use various specialized equipment in their operations. Positive displacement pumps offer affordable construction and design, with features suited to upstream tasks. Some pumps in this category also use gears for fluid transfer.
A US oil and gas company is using artificial intelligence to reduce unplanned events due to inadequate maintenance. The company has AI-equipped cameras that recognize corrosion on subsea and offshore assets. The company is also working on a data-driven cloud initiative that will allow it to capitalize on increasing amounts of information that can improve maintenance and other necessities.
Another company generated $5 million in funding for its submarine-inspired robots. These machines test tanks in the oil and gas industry using phased array ultrasonic testing technology. This approach captures 18,000 scans per square foot. Artificial intelligence allows robots to perform autonomous tests, affecting aspects such as guidance plans and a dynamic control system.
Such investments are expected to make oil industry operations safer and more profitable. When executives know about maintenance issues sooner, they have more time to purchase replacement assets, order replacement parts, contact technicians, or take other steps to avoid serious disruptions or accidents.
Enable accurate reporting
Oil companies must meet regulations by meeting or exceeding emissions control requirements. However, researchers believe the parties are vastly underestimating methane measurements until an AI project provides more precision.
One group developed an AI-powered hyperspectral imaging tool used to analyze aerial scans of an area. This approach uses 432 channels, with images taken at intervals of up to 2,500 nanometers. Artificial intelligence can evaluate all captured data, differentiating hydrocarbon plumes from other emissions. As of June 2023, researchers had data from around 4,000 sites. Testing shows this method is approximately 94% accurate on dry, densely vegetated properties.
The team currently relies on aircraft to capture the data, which can track emissions as low as around 50 kilograms per hour. However, they hope to eventually move to a satellite approach. This change could reveal emissions leaks over larger areas, including those that had previously gone undetected.
One project participant cited emissions from oil rigs off the coast of Mexico, which were emitting more than 7,600 kilograms of methane per hour for six months before being detected. However, this option of using AI in oil industry operations could eliminate or significantly reduce these oversights. Positive outcomes benefit stakeholders within and outside oil companies.
Artificial intelligence excels at finding patterns and other information in enormous amounts of data. Another investigation by another team involved using AI to study more than 560,000 satellite radar images collected over five years. The results showed the locations, severity and likely causes of oil pollution.
The group focused on oil slicks, which are typically difficult to study because they appear as microscopic layers on the ocean surface, constantly moving and breaking up. However, AI has allowed researchers to monitor oil spills in harsh environments and obtain useful insights.
It’s time to use AI in oil industry operations
These are just some of the many effective ways artificial intelligence can be applied to the oil industry. When decision-makers commit to fostering innovative workplaces and investing in advanced technologies to improve on-site and off-site processes, they can anticipate measurable results.
However, the best plans include specific goals and dedicated paths to achieve them. Achieving good results requires using new platforms, changing work procedures, implementing employee training programs and tracking key metrics. Creating and sticking to a comprehensive technology adoption plan helps people stay motivated and see what works.
This piece originally appeared on ISA Interchange.
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