To increase its data capabilities for the oil and gas industry, Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE) agreed Monday to partner with artificial intelligence (AI) expert C3.ai, joining a long list of joint ventures across the sector.
Data gleaned from AI has expanded opportunities for oil and gas producers and oilfield services firms. AI delivers more precise information that allows operators to create better wells and safer operations. AI ingests “massive quantities of data, becoming intelligent about specific operational environments and predicting problems before they occur so that operators can improve planning, staffing, sourcing and safety,” BHGE management said.
The partnership would combine BHGE’s oil and gas technology domain expertise with C3.ai’s AI software suite and solutions.
“The oil and gas industry is rapidly evolving, and digital technology is critical to achieving increased levels of productivity, efficiency and safety for ourselves and for our customers,” said BHGE CEO Lorenzo Simonelli. “This agreement is a mutual recognition of the technology leadership we each bring to the table and a willingness to work in new ways that deliver the best possible outcomes for our customers.
C3.ai CEO Thomas M. Siebel noted that the oil and gas industry is “undergoing a digital transformation to improve efficiencies and increase safety, while simultaneously reducing environmental impact. These changes will be driven through advanced AI use cases deployed across the entire oil and gas value chain.”
The companies already have begun marketing and deploying C3.ai’s applications into oil and gas businesses.
Royal Dutch Shell plc’s Jay Crotts, chief information officer, said the supermajor was using the C3.ai platform “to accelerate digital transformation across our business, focusing on using AI and machine learning to improve overall operations starting with predictive maintenance. 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.”
No financial terms were disclosed. However, under the terms of the agreement, BHGE was given a minority equity position in C3.ai and a seat on the board.