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Leading the charge in innovation, Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil production entity, is embracing state-of-the-art technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), not only within its core operations but also in broader applications, positioning the company at the forefront of progress.

In contrast to its industry counterparts, the Saudi state-owned oil giant has made substantial investments in research and development (R&D), dedicating around USD 3.5 billion in 2023, marking a 15% yearly growth despite global hurdles.

Also Read: The Technological Renaissance: Saudi Arabia's Journey to a Digital Future

AI Integration Across Business Areas

According to GlobalData's Technology Foresights, Aramco is involved in more than 250 areas of innovation, covering technologies set to revolutionize the oil and gas industry, including AI, drones, robotics, electric vehicles (EVs), and hydrogen technology. Furthermore, Aramco has cultivated its cybersecurity capabilities internally to defend against cyber threats that have emerged in recent times.

Sourabh Nyalkalkar, Practice Head of Innovation Products at GlobalData, commented, “The innovation leadership map reveals how the company is employing AI in its core operations and selectively prioritizing the adoption of AI innovations in specific areas of its business.”

Various scenarios have been outlined, including Saudi Aramco's utilization of AI in oil exploration and underwater operations, as well as the deployment of drones in sub-surface environments to capture images. These images are subsequently analyzed using machine learning (ML) algorithms to identify oil spills and pollutants. Another application of AI/ML was witnessed in automating seismic data processing and delivering real-time updates for sub-surface reservoir models.

Saudi Aramco’s SAIL

In late 2023, the corporation unveiled the Saudi Accelerated Innovation Laboratory (SAIL), a digital innovation ecosystem that aims to collaborate with a wider network—including government entities and startups—to facilitate the creation of digital innovation products. In March 2024, Aramco introduced its own LLM—Aramco METABRAIN—via SAIL. This generative AI model is being trained on data amassed by the company over the past nine decades.

“From the perspective of industry watchers and stakeholders, Saudi Aramco’s initiatives in adopting cutting-edge technologies, particularly AI, provide valuable insights into strategic navigation within a disruptive environment. For startups and other vendors developing industry-specific solutions, the insights gained from the in-depth innovation analysis of Aramco and its peers can assist in prioritizing areas that can enhance the value proposition,” concluded Nyalkalkar.

Also Read: Nokia Bell Labs and Aramco Announce R&D Collaboration

Also Read: OQ Technology and Aramco Strengthen Ties With New Technology Connectivity MoU


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