Home Finance Artificial Intelligence Is Wading Into the Deep to Unlock More Oil

Artificial Intelligence Is Wading Into the Deep to Unlock More Oil

by CoinNews

The use cases for Artificial Intelligence (AI) are growing exponentially as companies discover more ways to leverage the technology. Deepwater oil and gas production and exploration is one of the latest frontiers for AI. Leading global energy giant Shell (SHEL 1.10%) recently unveiled a technology collaboration with AI software solutions provider SparkCognition to enhance its ability to find and produce oil from deepwater sources. 

Shell is one of a growing number of oil and gas companies tapping into AI to enhance their oil and gas operations. 

Drilling down into the collaboration

Shell is working with SparkCognition to “accelerate the pace of imaging and exploration of subsurface structures using generative AI technology,” according to the press release detailing the collaboration. The current subsurface imaging and data analysis method costs a lot of time and money. It relies on processing terabytes of data (each equivalent to 6.5 document pages or 250,000 photos), high-performance computing, and complex physics-based algorithms to uncover oil and gas exploration opportunities.   

However, Shell and SparkCognition are developing a proprietary generative AI approach to improve deepwater exploration and production outcomes. Through the use of deep learning, Shell will be able to generate subsurface images using significantly fewer seismic shots than the traditional approach. This AI-driven approach should save time and money while delivering higher exploration success rates and increased production from wells. 

This technology has wide-ranging use cases beyond the deepwater. In the press release unveiling the collaboration, Bruce Porter, the Chief Science Officer at SparkCognition, stated, “Generative AI for seismic imaging can positively disrupt the exploration process and has broad and far-reaching implications across industries–driving greater efficiencies, lower cost, and accentuating sustainability initiatives.” The company noted that it could be useful for onshore oil and gas exploration, satellite imaging for weather patterns, national security, and threat assessment. 

AI-powered drilling and monitoring

Shell isn’t the only oil company working to harness the power of AI to unlock more oil. ExxonMobil (XOM -0.31%) is becoming a data-driven oil company, which it believes will help reduce costs, increase production, and reduce emissions. The company is collaborating with Microsoft to use Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the Permian Basin to collect data from an extensive network of sensors across that field. It’s using AI and machine learning to make those operations more efficient. Those advanced technologies enable Exxon’s systems to recognize and respond to issues without human intervention. 

Exxon is also the first company in the industry to use autonomous drilling in deepwater. Its proprietary drilling advisory system, which it currently uses in Guyana, leverages the power of AI to determine the best parameters for drilling. 

Fellow oil producer EOG Resources (EOG -0.09%) is another industry leader using AI technology to improve operations. The company has long used data and technology to improve its drilling results. EOG Resources collects extensive data from its wells, which it uses to optimize drilling future wells with proprietary AI-driven algorithms. 

Meanwhile, AI is helping Devon Energy (DVN -0.06%) leverage data to cut operating costs, forecast when equipment might fail, and boost its oil and gas output. The company partnered with Databricks to enhance its ability to leverage all the data it collects from wells, drilling rigs, and other sources. Devon was able to streamline its data and more quickly process queries to unleash the power of AI to reduce costs and enhance productivity.   

Oil companies are harnessing the power of AI to improve outcomes

Shell is one of a growing number of oil and gas producers that are embracing AI. The company is using the technology to more quickly and efficiently gain subsurface insights, which could yield more deepwater discoveries and higher productivity. Deepwater applications are one of many ways oil companies are using AI to leverage their data and reduce costs, increase success, and improve production. That will boost returns and help mute some of the impact of pricing volatility on their oil-fueled cash flows.


Matthew DiLallo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends EOG Resources and Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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