How Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing are boosting Digital Transformation in Oil and Gas

This blog brings insights from Cindy Crown about how artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing are changing the industrial work environment. Cindy is an Industry Principal for Oil and Gas at AVEVA and has almost 40 years of experience in the Oil and Gas sector.

Oil refinery

Why is the Oil and Gas industry buzzing about AI and Cloud?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud computing blend in diverse ways to accomplish better, faster, more efficient engineering and operations capabilities for Oil and Gas. AI might be the most revolutionary technology to drive cloud computing and its value to the industry. AI has many facets; it is the simulated intelligence in machines. It is a computer science that develops software to demonstrate human-like intelligence. It enables the personalization of data for various personas for individual customer engagement and much more.

What are the most common applications in the Oil and Gas sector today?

The use of machine learning (ML) for industrial operations has increased in the past years. It uses large amounts of data applied to models that learn from different patterns to generate artificial intelligence for the application and provide predictions about upcoming events. The models are continuously updated as more data is generated, remaining accurate through time, developing the ability to anticipate issues or point areas of improvement.

It sounds like magic! Is it that easy to predict equipment behavior?

AI is not magic! The more data, the better the prediction, but it also requires the correct type of data. I have worked on extensive projects with 20 years of maintenance data that wasn’t complete enough of a data set. Let me explain; more and different people entered maintenance data over those 20 years, and there were no standards of how and what data was required. Therefore, all the specific data needed to be reentered to build the AI models. As a result, the AI application could only be completed on one type of compressor because the data was not there for the other types. Behind every AI-based model, we need the right data set carefully selected to provide the desired outcomes.

Can you share an example of where you have personally seen the benefits of AI in application?

AI for maintenance has been instrumental in anomaly detection and cross-site analytics. For example, a major customer in the Oil and Gas sector successfully used advanced analytics for pipeline pumps and compressors leveraged by real-time operational data with ML models in cloud services. Once the models were trained, engineers could quickly detect anomalies and predict asset failure before it happened, saving time and money for their company. The customer achieved shorter maintenance cycles, increased asset reliability and uptime, and self-service data options so users can quickly and easily get the insights they need.

How will AI and Cloud impact the near future of the Oil and Gas industry?

Cloud computing and AI will bring about a step-change in the Oil and Gas Industry overall. Beyond failures anticipation, with the initiative of Net Zero Carbon, AI can assist in improvements, including reductions in flaring and fuel consumption for compression, facilities, and company vehicles. For example, monitoring the flares ignition systems and controls with additional sensors will enable AI to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We will be able to measure what component and how much of it is generated from various areas of the field and develop tools to predict and notify of a potential occurrence.

Artificial Intelligence supported by cloud computing is already enabling deeper digital transformation for Oil and Gas and many other industries both in the engineering environment and industrial operations and maintenance. With the right digital strategy, the transformation can be fast, profitable, and aligned with the sustainability drivers!

Read the IDC whitepaper to learn the major areas that software capabilities such AI can bring to Oil and Gas companies.