Will AI replace jobs in Oil & Gas?

With the increased popularity of AI in the headlines, it’s a question that’s on everyone’s mind. The answer is uncertain, but I highly doubt it — let me explain in a series of articles.

What is AI?

First of all, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become quite popular in recent years, but generally relates to the science of making computers do things that require intelligence when done by humans. Related to AI, you may have also heard a lot of buzz about Big Data, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Data Science. It’s probably because these fields of computer science have made significant progress very recently in Technology, Healthcare and Finance, and it’s starting to make its way into Oil & Gas.

How can AI benefit Oil & Gas?

The Oil & Gas industry has two simple drivers: value creation and value capture. The value creation comes from locating and harvesting underground hydrocarbons (such as geological interpretation, reservoir modelling and drilling & completions) and capturing its value through transportation, refining and distribution.

Where does AI forecasting come in? Take a look at asset evaluation, for example. When a prospector considers buying an oil and gas asset, she makes a prediction on the size of the reserves underground, and whether she can profitably extract it to the surface. Conventionally, reserves estimation is a large feat that requires years of experience in geology and reservoir engineering, however by relating reservoir properties and production behaviour, AI is making these predictions continually more accurate to forecast the production in the future. Better predictions mean better decisions when businesses plan ahead, and the benefit is two-fold: efficiency increases revenues and reduces the overall environmental footprint, too.

What ideas do you have?

Share your ideas with us! Over the next several articles, we will talk more about AI applications in Oil & Gas. We’d love to hear your comments and questions:


Dudon Wai is a co-founder of Unsist, a Calgary-based technology company that develops predictive analytics software for the oil & gas industry. Find out more on social media!