AI Impact on Oil and Gas Exploration

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September 16, 2022


AI / Oil & Gas


AI Impact on Oil and Gas Exploration

The oil and gas industry is a staple of the industrial world we live in. Whether people like it or not it’s going to be around providing energy to key aspects of the economy, but that doesn’t mean the oil and gas sector is impervious to change. In the last few years due to renewable resources becoming more mainstream, public demand for less environmental damage, and a need for more exploration, big oil has had to embrace AI more than ever before.

AI is making the oil and gas industry faster, safer, and more efficient, but one of the more interesting sectors AI is affecting is the exploration side. It may not be in the minds of everyday people when they think about oil companies but it is an integral part that AI is giving a much-needed boost to. AI is not only improving how oil companies search for oil but doing it with less risk to the environment than ever before.

Fighting Oil Seep with AI Controlled Explorers

Some of the big issues that come up when talking about oil and gas are the environment and safety for employees. These two issues come up even more often when oil and gas exploration is involved. Right now AI-controlled robots are helping reduce oil seep on the ocean floor and are no longer endangering humans to do it.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA for short, seep is when, “hydrocarbons leak out of the ground through fractures and sediments, in the same way, freshwater springs bring water to the surface.” It’s also worth knowing that according to NOAA, “naturally occurring oil seeps from the seafloor are the largest source of oil entering the world’s oceans, accounting for nearly half of the oil released into the ocean environment every year.” With new AI technology oil seeps can be found and harnessed, saving the environment while making a profit and ExxonMobil is doing just that.

The oil and gas giant has combined efforts with MIT to design AI-controlled robots for ocean exploration with the intent of capitalizing on oil seeps. ExxonMobil has explained that they plan on using AI to, “boost its natural seep detection capabilities.” This particular robot is designed to explore the ocean floor using a powerful AI that, “will be able to detect these oil seeps in order to greatly reduce exploration risk and lessen harm to marine life.” This is a major win for not just AI involved with oil and gas exploration but the oil industry as a whole.
When AI-controlled robots are able to explore the seafloor to collect resources for a company it proves the impact they have. This shows that the future of oil and gas exploration is not only going to be cleaner because of AI, but AI will give the oil and gas exploration sector more chances to branch out into different sea-based areas. When there’s no worry about putting workers in harm’s way and there’s less environmental impact it will only lead to even more sea exploration than ever before.

However, oil and gas exploration isn’t just large American firms making AI-controlled robots for under the sea exploring. There are also London-based firms making AI specifically designed to aid experts in the exploration of new oil and gas sites around the world.

Helping Experts Make the Right Choice

Making the right decision even for an expert can be tough, especially for the amount of money spent on exploring new areas to get oil. Sometimes a sure thing still has some unknown factors making it look a little risky. This is where Sandy can make a difference. Sandy is a cloud-based geoscience platform using AI. The AI was created by Belmont Technology and has had a big enough impact that the London-based BP Ventures has invested $5 million in its production.

According to BP, Sandy is useful to experts because, “it intuitively links that information together, identifying new connections and workflows, and creating a robust knowledge-graph of BP’s subsurface assets.” It was also stated that “experts can then interrogate the data, asking the powerful knowledge-graph specific questions in natural language. The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations.” What this means is that AI is helping experts get exact location data of oil and gas deposits where they might not have considered it in the past.

It was reported by Mordor Intelligence that Sandy has given the offshore oil and gas business an edge in resource exploration. Pointing out that, “the oil and gas business use AI in data science to make the complex data used for oil and gas exploration and production more reachable, which lets companies discover new exploration prospects or make more use out of existing infrastructures.” This AI is not only giving experts solutions to problems involving oil exploration but is also making it more accessible and efficient allowing for further exploration and less wasted effort all around.

What This Leads To

In the case of oil and gas exploration AI isn’t just making things more efficient, but allowing companies a chance to really explore. Rather than drill in the same locations off the shores of Mexico or deserts of Saudi Arabia, AI is letting there be a real chance for discovering resources in different parts of the world. By helping experts pinpoint different areas while guiding robots in search of resources AI is in a sense making oil and gas exploration a reality again. This is the impact AI has, it’s letting oil and gas companies explore the world for resources like never before.

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