On Thursday, Shell Global Solutions announced it is broadening its work with Microsoft Corp. to help accelerate industry transformation and innovation. Through this collaboration, Shell will drive efficiencies across the company from drilling and extraction to employee empowerment and collaboration, as well as safety for its retail customers and employees.
As part of this deal, Shell announced it has selected C3 IoT with Microsoft Azure as its artificial intelligence (AI) platform to enable and accelerate digital transformation on a global scale. Shell expects to realize substantial economic value by rapidly scaling and replicating AI and machine learning applications across its upstream and downstream businesses and improving operational performance.
“Digital technologies are core to our strategy to strengthen our position as a leading energy company,” said Yuri Sebregts, executive vice president for technology and CTO of Shell. “Our collaboration with Microsoft gives us a solid digital platform to make our core business more effective and efficient and supports our ambition to provide more and cleaner energy solutions through technology.”
“Shell is demonstrating AI and IoT leadership in selecting C3 IoT and Azure for the Shell AI Platform,” said Thomas M. Siebel, chairman and CEO of C3 IoT. “This will enable Shell to rapidly realize the vision of digital transformation across all lines of business, including upstream, midstream, retail and finance.”
“As one of the energy sector’s largest and most prominent players, Shell’s wide-scale adoption of AI, machine learning and IoT technologies sets an example of how digital transformation can help the industry address resource challenges, improve asset performance and promote safety,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business. “We are excited to deepen our relationship with Shell as the company continues to be a digital pacesetter for the industry.”
Shell has been driving digital technologies throughout its business for many years, from subsea robotics in the 1970s to helping in the development of RAM in the 1980s to process seismic data. In fact, Shell already leverages Microsoft tools to enhance people productivity and collaboration and is now embarking on broader AI projects to drive industry-leading innovation.
These digital advances come by combining in-house development of proprietary technologies with co-innovation alongside leading companies like Microsoft. Together with Microsoft, Shell is creating a secure, reliable foundation upon which to build these digital solutions.
- AI platform adoption. Shell and Microsoft share ambitions around AI and its ability to augment human capacity. Leveraging the C3 IoT Platform on Microsoft Azure for a broad set of AI applications, Shell will start with predictive maintenance for more than hundreds of thousands of critical assets globally. It will then expand to support other machine learning, machine vision and natural language processing-based use cases.
- AI in action. As Shell’s technology ambitions continue to evolve through the Microsoft partnership, the company has made progress in two key areas of the business already with artificial intelligence tools:
o Shell Geodesic™ was developed to improve the accuracy and consistency of a horizontal well’s directional control to reach the most productive layers of rock containing oil and gas. The solution streamlines drilling data and processes algorithms that make real-time decisions and better predict their outcomes. It features a “drilling simulator,” easy user interface, and a suite of tested algorithms that give geologists and drillers the ability to visualize layers of oil and gas rock in a unique environment. Shell Geodesic™ is now being scaled across Shell’s wells portfolio, and its impact is by minimizing uncertainty, well misplacement, and risk of collision among wells from a single location and furthering safety.
o To ensure the safety of employees and customers at its retail sites, Shell developed a new cloud-based, deep learning solution built on Microsoft Azure that uses closed-circuit camera footage and Internet of Things technology to automatically identify safety hazards and alert employees, so they can quickly respond and eliminate potential problems.
- Employee empowerment. To foster more social, seamless and integrated digital experiences for its workforce of over 84,000 global employees, Shell will leverage three integrated Office 365 communication apps, Microsoft Stream, an enterprise video service; SharePoint Online, a content collaboration repository; and Yammer, a corporate social network, to modernize its communication channels. This allows for a continued, streamlined capability to communicate with employees in a more personalized and collaborative way, thus growing thriving internal communities.