BHGE links with AI provider
Another significant joint venture deal is poised to deliver artificial intelligence solutions across the oil and gas industry, with global services player Baker Hughes GE announcing on 24 June an agreement with software provider C3.ai a deal to deliver digital transformation technologies that will aim to drive new levels of productivity for the industry.
The companies will immediately market and deploy C3.ai’s AI technology, including the C3 AI Suite and applications, into oil and gas businesses. BHGE and C3.ai will also leverage BHGE’s existing digital portfolio to collaborate on new integrated AI applications specific to oil and gas, and offer combined teams of oilfield and AI expertise deployed directly into customer environments to deliver AI solutions that meet specific business needs.
Simplifying the approach to AI with this combined offering is intended to help customers focus on running their oil and gas business safely and efficiently.
BHGE has taken a minority equity position in C3.ai and will have a seat on C3.ai’s board of directors. BHGE will also accelerate its own use of AI, deploying the C3 AI Suite across its business to enable new BHGE AI applications that improve core operations and better serve customers with AI-enabled products and services.
C3.ai delivers the C3 AI Suite for developing, deploying, and operating large-scale AI, predictive analytics, and IoT applications in addition to an increasingly broad portfolio of turn-key AI applications.
Said the company’s CEO Thomas M Siebel: “Combining its strengths with the unique industrial AI capability of C3.ai, we will deliver transformative change to one of the world’s most important industry sectors.”
Oil major Shell uses the C3.ai platform to accelerate digital transformation across its business, focusing on using AI and machine learning to improve overall operations starting with predictive maintenance. According to Shell Group CIO Jay Crotts “Shell also has a long-standing relationship with BHGE in oilfield services and software development. There is real potential in exploring the fusion of existing oilfield technology and emerging digital technology, in this case combining C3.ai’s capabilities with BHGE’s domain expertise to create new solutions that truly address oil and gas specific challenges with powerful advanced analytics technology.”
PDS takes on frac data sharing network
PDS Energy Information (PDS), a provider of secure data transfer exchange services for oil & gas drilling, completion, and production data, announced on 8 July that it it has assumed commercial operation of the Frac Interference Exchange (FracX), a reciprocal data sharing network previously developed and operated by one of the largest operators in the Permian basin to coordinate hydraulic fracturing activity among producers.
By taking over operation of frac data sharing system developed by major Permian producer, it aims to enable a rapidly expanding list of operators across North America to exchange frac schedules and prevent catastrophic events caused by high pressure buildup on nearby wells.
The FracX data exchange will become the latest addition to the PDS Well Data Exchange (WDX) platform to allow participating operators the benefit of the WDX platform's leading-edge security and privacy to provide the entire industry a cost-free solution to securely store and distribute frac schedules from participating companies.
This addresses the growing need across the oil & gas industry to share information between operators to mitigate the risk of blowouts and other catastrophic events that can be caused by hydraulic fracturing near other drilling or production operations. FracX participants include all major Permian producers and a rapidly growing list of operators in every North American basin.
Dangers associated with hydraulic fracturing include a blow-out and water-out as high pressure from fracking forces gas and liquids through a shared subsurface producing zone and upward in nearby wells, also known as a “frac hit.” The FracX Exchange, now operated by PDS, mitigates these risks by enabling oil & gas producers to seamlessly share information about their frac operations.
Operators upload their frac schedules to the cloud-based exchange where data for a region is aggregated, giving potentially affected participants access to critical information regarding planned fracking activity using a web browser. Producers can then share risk assessments and take appropriate action to prevent frac hits, including shutting-in nearby producing wells or modifying frac operations.
Emerson buys SCADA provider
US engineering and technology group Emerson announced on 8 July it had has completed the purchase of Canada-based Zedi’s software and automation businesses.
The addition of Zedi’s cloud supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) platform is intended to further enable Emerson, a specialist in automation, to help oil and gas producers increase production and lower operating costs through cloud-based monitoring, control and optimization.
Zedi’s technology allows customers to monitor more than 2 million sensors and thousands of devices and applications. By combining Zedi’s scalable cloud platform and applications expertise with Emerson’s extensive applications, controller, instrumentation and flow metering portfolio, the acquisition aims to expand opportunities for Emerson across the global oil and gas production market.
“Oil and gas producers today are challenged to meet production targets while controlling costs, and they are looking for opportunities to transform operations and make their teams more effective through digital solutions like analytics and mobility,” said Jim Nyquist, group president of Emerson’s systems and solutions business. “This important investment bolsters our portfolio and ability to help Emerson’s customers achieve Top Quartile performance through emerging Industrial Internet of Things technologies.”
Emerson and Zedi’s software and automation businesses share a common vision of automating the production process through edge and cloud analytics and machine learning. The combined software and expertise of the two companies will provide producers with scalable and easily deployable end-to-end connected solutions to optimize and manage their operations.
Equinor and BHGE back Scottish centres
Norway’s Equinor is sponsoring Aberdeen Science Centre in Scotland, as part of a three-year partnership to support the digital transformation.
Equinor’s six-figure sponsorship agreement includes supporting the current Code Factory programme, which aims to engage young people in coding, programming and virtual reality and support building these critical skills early.
The deal also sees the company sponsoring Robothespian which builds excitement around robotics and a future that is even more robotised, automated and connected.
Hedda Felin, Senior Vice President, UK and Ireland Offshore at Equinor, said: “This year is significant for Equinor as it marks the start-up of the Mariner field, a digital front runner, which will produce to 2050 and beyond. We are proud to work in partnership with the Aberdeen Science Centre to build excitement and capabilities in STEM.
“Digitalization is increasingly important both for society and for the energy industry to continue to enhance safety, become more carbon efficient and transition to a low carbon future. As digital futures partner of the Aberdeen Science Centre, we aim to build understanding of digitalisation.”
Aberdeen Science Centre is scheduled to open at the Tramsheds in spring 2020.
Meanwhile in June, Baker Hughes GE opened its transformed Centre of Excellence (CoE) facility in Montrose, also in Scotland. This will deliver engineering, manufacturing, test and assembly and services to advance deepwater technology for customers.
The new campus will benefit from advanced manufacturing tools and processes, designed to improve efficiency and productivity, including:
- Virtual reality tools and training opportunities to help technicians assemble equipment digitally and troubleshoot issues before construction begins
- Automation to boost efficiency on activities like welding, testing and material-handling
- Sensor-equipped machines that allow customers to view updates of manufacturing activities and equipment test results via tablet in real-time. The sensors will also enable BHGE to analyze critical data to improve operations and increase productivity.