While the “digital oilfield” has been talked about for decades, digital penetration into the industry has tended to lag other sectors. But if a new openness to collaboration and a number of deals struck over the past year between oil and gas and big tech companies, tech startups and local organizations are any indication, that could be about to change.

In September, Imperial Oil Limited and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) announced a two-year agreement to collaborate on the development of Imperial’s in-house machine learning capabilities, which will enable a range of applied artificial intelligence (AI) projects.

“Amii is not only a leader in the AI space globally, but based locally in Alberta. We believe the institute is a perfect partner to help us showcase Alberta’s leadership in technology and digital solutions for responsibly-produced oil and gas,” said John Whelan, Imperial’s senior vice-president, upstream.

In November, Suncor Energy Inc. announced a multi-year strategic alliance with Microsoft Canada as a part of the company’s effort to further accelerate its digital transformation journey. Suncor said it would take advantage of Microsoft’s full range of cloud solutions as it moves toward a cloud-based computing platform. The deal is expected to enable the rapid deployment of new technologies to improve safety and productivity through artificial intelligence, machine learning, enhanced automation, and Industrial IoT and visualization.

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