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Artificial intelligence is impacting the energy industry by changing the way that renewable energy is extracted and helping natural gas companies run their businesses. The functions of AI are primarily being used in the industry in the form of intelligent robots and virtual assistants.

Intelligent Robots

AI is going to be used to protect the environment and help companies save money. Currently, ExxonMobil is working with MIT to create robots that will be able to explore the ocean floor and find seeps underwater. Natural seeps happen when oil pushes from underneath the rock in the ocean floor and account for over 60% of oil overflow in the United States.

With the use of AI, users will have the ability to pinpoint these seeps. When found, they can be harvested while protecting the environment.

Shell is currently researching how to improve operations with low-carbon energy. They are looking to increase the use of AI throughout their facilities. Automated robots will be able to do routine inspections and gather data normally done by humans. This will allow human counterparts to put more focus and time on other work activities that AI and robots can’t accomplish.

Telecom business Huawei is collaborating with Sinopec in order to create a “smart manufacturing platform.” The announcement highlighted AI as an important aspect that would create a centralized method of managing data and integrating it across many platforms. The AI would create rules that would notify how data is being interpreted and give the user insight on where operations can be improved.

Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are being used to communicate with customers and other companies. Shell is currently using their virtual assistants, Emma and Ethan, in order to help customers find the products they are seeking. The assistants can be found online on their website and can answer basic questions about topics such as range and availability of products. Shell has also added a virtual assistant to help suppliers answer questions about their invoices. With virtual assistants answering questions, companies will be able to focus on hiring individuals to do other work.

The technology that these companies are planning to implement will save money and the environment. Information can be attained in an efficient manner and resources put to better use. Technology will reduce the number of accidents by lowering exposure to dangerous conditions that workers can face. This is the start of a smart future for oil and gas businesses.