Cognitive Impact of IoT & AI on Oil & Gas

Anand Pednekar

5th CCPS China Conference on Process Safety, Nanjing, China


Systems capable of processing cognitive data use techniques which apply human-like capabilities such as learning, understanding, reasoning and implementation. In the oil and gas industry, these techniques are poised to transform organizations and industries. In this era of abundance, decision-making to streamline rapid extraction, optimal storage, efficient processing and on time delivery are as important as maintaining accord with every stringent safety and environmental regulation. Measurements and monitoring in this new paradigm will bring significant operational benefits in real-time, to address HSSE response and effectiveness.

This paper sheds light on the new industry jargon, namely IoT and AI which are driving this inevitable shift. Predicting incidents, drawing from experience, recognizing similarities, mitigating risks, analyzing proactively, enhancing operability, truncating maintenance cost and reducing downtime; are just a few of the benefits which are likely to be realized. The impact brought on by these enhancements in process safety and reliability for upcoming projects and operating facilities have been critically reviewed to help operators remain ahead of the curve.

It also helps visualize how IoT applications – which are based on a foundation of communication between devices using prescribed hardware, software and programming – allow us to remotely learn and control processes. Real time feed allows continuous improvement of such remote entity awareness and control modules, which is essentially AI being gathered by the machines. This significantly improves progressive prediction.

However, improvisation does come with its own set of vulnerabilities. These can be minor in nature (e.g. data theft, unauthorized access) to catastrophic (e.g. disabling critical interlocks, change in set points of PLCs). With cybercrimes projected to cost US $2 trillion to the global economy by 2019, the paper has also tries to emphasize the need to upgrade cyber defense against such potent intrusions.