Total's digital factory signals AI for drilling optimization

By Francois de Beaupuy on 4/19/2019

PARIS (Bloomberg) -- Total's use of artificial intelligence to screen geological data will help the oil and gas industry identify new prospects, and shorten the time to acquire licenses, drill and make discoveries, Arnaud Breuillac, head of E&P, said at a conference. The company's digital transformation will also help optimize the use of equipment and reduce maintenance costs, he said.

The digital factory will employ between 200 and 300 engineers and build on successful North Sea pilot projects, CEO Patrick Pouyanne said at the same event. It will also be a way to attract “young talent” to the industry.

More from Total: Total plans four new wells in Lapa field, offshore Brazil

A year ago, Total and Alphabet Inc.’s Google signed an agreement to jointly develop artificial intelligence solutions applied to subsurface data analysis. The partnership has been “very successful,” Breuillac said.

While oil prices have partly recovered from a slump that started in 2015, big oil companies are keeping a tight rein on costs amid fear that a production glut, geopolitical tensions or an economic slowdown may sap demand.

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