Cognitive technology for the oil and gas industry

LNIAZI Photo 2017

Luq Niazi, Global Managing Director, Chemicals & Petroleum, IBM

Luq Niazi, IBM Global Managing Director, Chemicals & Petroleum Industries, guest writes our blog ahead of speaking at IP Week 2018, 20-22 Feb…

The oil and gas industry is experiencing the largest transition in its history, driven by changing needs and approaches to the world’s energy, transportation and manufacturing systems, as well as the changing dynamics of product portfolios, and increasing demand for greater advances in molecular science and product innovation.

With cost pressures remaining and customer expectations continuing to rise, the need for improvements across the entire value chain are seismic. Businesses are looking at new strategies to grow and differentiate. Digital transformation is opening more doors to new markets, enabling new business models across ecosystems to form and driving new levels of performance and enhanced organisational capability and knowledge.

The challenge for oil and gas companies is where best to apply digital solutions, how fast and how far to go. This will be the focus of my contribution at IP Week next month, alongside others working in this sphere.

There are four key technologies – cloud, cognitive/AI, internet of things and blockchain –  that are combining to generate this significant transformation across industries. As a global leader in services, technology, industry and R&D, IBM is spending almost all of its time focused on driving these capabilities forward with clients, partners and the wider chemicals and petroleum industries.

What we are finding is that forward-thinking industry leaders have already identified the potential of these digital enablers and are building new strategies and capabilities to address the skill gaps they have in their organisations that are required to develop the potential of digital opportunities.

To accelerate adoption, organisations will need to combine deep industry skills, digital technology expertise, research capability and a culture of continuous experimentation and learning. Together, when applied in a focused way to key business challenges, they have the potential to deliver significant innovation and improvement to both top and bottom line performance.

Focusing on cognitive technologies for the oil and gas industry, these solutions are able to process huge volumes of structured and unstructured data – from chemical formulas, to visual images and sound – to derive new levels of insight and deliver recommendations, often close to real time, to industry professionals through a portfolio of cognitive advisors.

For example, there are over 150,000 SPE reports written about experiences in upstream. The ability to garner deeper insight from all of this information can accelerate and considerably improve decision making, as well as drive increased performance.

Based on our Institute for Business Value research and our operational experience, we are seeing cognitive technologies unlocking value when applied to solving complex problems. Across the 30 plus projects we have in the chemicals and petroleum industries, we see the application of cognitive/AI initiatives as broadly being split 60% in upstream and 40% in downstream, manufacturing, supply chain and retail.

In my session at IP week I will share more details, with specific examples to show how we are helping clients further advance the adoption of cognitive technologies as part of their digital transformation journey.

Industry digitalisation is a key session at IP Week 2018, taking place on day one of the conference. For more information and the full agenda, please visit

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