How Oil & Gas and Chemical Companies Can “Start Small” and Achieve Sustainable Value Through AI

By starting with a small but important problem, delivering quick value before moving on to solve other related challenges, companies create a compounding effect of benefits that ripple throughout the production process.
4 mins

Despite the promise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the process industries, it’s no secret that 60% to 80% of AI programs are reported to not have achieved significant business gains. It’s a promise unfulfilled and many organizations are searching for answers.

Is the complexity and dynamics of the process too hard for AI to learn?

Are existing data practices insufficient for AI?

Or perhaps the knowledge and experience required is beyond the current state of AI?

There’s some truth to all these questions. However, when we dig further to analyze the crux of the problem, we discover that it often comes down to one simple issue. The main reason that many AI implementation fails to meet expectations is that companies often bite off more than they can chew. In other words, they set themselves up for failure by starting with challenges that are too big, featuring too many organizational complexities, and requiring too much time to realize value.

Are we expecting too much from AI in the first place?

AI is set to transform nearly every industry and it’s here to stay for the long run. By 2030, AI and machine learning are expected to become the foundation for industrial automation and decision-making support. The promise of AI lies in its ability to predict the future from data, and by doing so it will generate huge value in the process industries:

Taking the first steps in the AI journey

Instead of trying to solve the most complex problems first, companies should start by targeting small and specific AI solutions that produce immediate business value. By starting with a small but important problem, delivering quick value before moving on to solve other related challenges, companies create a compounding effect of benefits that ripple throughout the production process. In taking these first steps in their AI journeys, these companies are also effectively preparing their workforce for the more complex applications that unlock the full value of AI.

Achieving $20M Savings

In a recent case study, we explored how Canvass AI delivered over $20M in benefits to a leading Oil & Gas company in North America, by improving asset reliability and uptime for several of their assets. It started with a specific problem – frequent breakdown of the centrifuge separator – where we applied the predictive maintenance solution. Within days, value was delivered. The workforce then quickly gained confidence and expanded the solution to monitor for many more failure modes and for additional assets. By making AI solutions practical for engineers and operators from the beginning, the workforce was able to scale AI across 20+ assets and processes, resulting in nearly $20M in benefits.

In another recent case study, we explored how a top tier chemical producer used AI to predict real time changes to their co-gen unit boiler operating targets to meet varying stream demand. Initially the solution started with an updated operating model to run three co-gen lines which the operators could start using as standard procedures which improved the efficiency of the units. As the operators gained confidence, the solution was expanded into providing real time offline guidance for operators. Eventually, a closed loop implementation provides real time controller set point calculations with operator’s intervention only required for outliers, creating more time for operators to manage other parts of the process. Now the company is expanding the AI solutions and associated best practices to other plants.

The journey to an AI-driven future won’t be traveled in a single step but a multitude of them, with each one opening the door for the next. By starting small, creating immediate value before expanding to solve adjacent challenges, companies foster trust and confidence in AI solutions within the workforce, reinforce the value cycle within their organizations and better position their teams to effectively adopt AI for their specific purposes.

Learn how the start-small strategy can transform your site’s approach to sustainability and fast track your AI journey to success by scheduling a demo with us today.

About Canvass:

Canvass AI is a leading software provider enabling industrial companies to exceed their operations and sustainability targets with patented industrial AI technology. Its AI-as-a-Service is designed to co-exist with existing technologies and empower workforces to achieve faster sustainable outcomes. Backed by Alphabet, and Yamaha Motor Ventures, the Company is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovation Community, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, and is recognized by CB Insights as one of the world’s top 50 technology companies that is advancing manufacturing. Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.  

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