Oil and gas prices may be looking up slightly but margins are still incredibly tight and companies are constantly trying to make their operations more efficient. As there is so much data involved in decisions, proposals and forecasting, there were serious efficiency savings to be made in the way all this data was processed because it was taking teams of people months or even years to put together proposal documents. IBM’s Natural Resource Solutions Centre (NRSC) in Calgary, Canada, recently worked with Minestar Group Corp. to come up with a data processing solution to increase productivity while improving efficiency and safety.
IBM Natural Resource Solutions Centre
Based in IBM’s offices in Calgary, this centre was created to bring technological innovation to Canada’s petroleum and mining industries. It aims to bring together IBM’s best minds and industry leaders to come up with fresh ideas and solutions to overcome challenges. Being part of a huge global networks means the centre can draw on expertise and experience in a wide range of areas to find new ways to solve problems. They also have access to IBM’s $6billion R&D budget to implement ‘smart’ strategies using huge amounts of data and phenomenal processing power.
Artificial intelligence platform, Watson, can process and interpret huge amounts of data that would take a human team months to wade through. It was originally developed to answer questions on the quiz programme ‘Jeopardy’ and, in 2011, it famously beat the US TV show’s longest running human champions. By 2013, Watson was being used as a decision making tool in industry and has since been expanded to incorporate a huge range of functions and applications.
How the NRSC is Working with Minestar
Minestar Group Corp. are a Canadian utilities and mining company who have been working with the NRSC to improve their efficiency. They report that it takes four members of their sales team roughly six to nine months to put together a bid package but used IBM Watson to do it in 72 hours. The company’s CEO explained that the industry moved so quickly and things can change so suddenly that processes and predictions taking so long is impractical and impedes their business. Working with the NRSC enables them to make decisions and produce bids much more quickly to keep their competitive edge.
Another Canadian company, OpsMobile, are working with the NRSC to build an AI system around Watson to handle the huge amount of data that came with their acquisition of a large number of assets so they will be able to make good, quick decisions on how to manage them. OpsMobile’s CEO said, “We stepped back and said rather than handling all of these paper files ourselves, organizing shelves and hiring engineers and technologists to go through the data to help us make decision, let’s jump into the future digitize it all and start developing an AI assistant or support network for all of our team.” Going forward, IBM are forming a consortium of smaller oil and gas companies in Canada to develop new technology and new processes to drive the industry into the future.
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