Management: The Power of Cognitive Technology

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It has been over a year since Repsol and IBM announced their plans to jointly develop cognitive technologies that would allow human decision makers operating in the oil and gas industry to interact with computers more effectively, enhancing the industry’s ability to source, analyze, and filter big data to make it more consumable.

Building on what is commonly referred to as artificial intelligence, experts in this field are developing “super computers,” which are able to understand, learn from, and interact with humans. Many different com­panies in various sectors are currently developing cognitive technologies for specific activities, with the most pioneering being applied to the exploration and production (E&P) sector of oil and gas.

In an environment of low oil ­prices and ever tighter margins, cognitive technology can help energy companies increase the productivity of their oil and gas fields and minimize exploration risk when searching for new resources. The objectives of Repsol’s collaboration with IBM were twofold: to leverage cognitive computing capabilities to specifically help Repsol reduce the risk and uncertainty of future oil field acquisitions and to maximize the yield of existing oil fields—both of which can have a significant impact on the efficiency of global E&P operations of Repsol and other oil and gas companies.

Currently, offshore E&P is a capital-intensive exercise. The drilling of a single well can cost up to USD 400 million and the data used to determine the best location to search and drill for oil are often extremely limited and inaccurate. By developing these cognitive technologies, Repsol and IBM have been able to bring decision makers together, helping them to share insights, gather data sets from multiple sources more easily, and enable better, more prescriptive analysis. The ability to overcome limitations posed by big data has led to less uncertainty and, ultimately, reduced operational risk.

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Management: The Power of Cognitive Technology

Santiago Quesada, Director of Exploration and Production Technology, Repsol Technology Center

16 March 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 4

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