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How Conversational AI Enables a Safer Work Environment in the Oil and Gas Industry
With conversational AI, companies in the oil and gas industry can create and maintain a significantly safer and more efficient work environment.
Working in the oil and gas industry can be highly hazardous to workers. A lot of complex equipment is involved, as are dangerous materials and locations. Recognizing and planning for these hazards is crucial to preventing injuries and deaths. Fortunately, conversational AI can help oil and gas companies maintain a safer work environment.
What Are the Most Significant Workplace Hazards in the Oil and Gas Industry?
According to OSHA, some of the most significant workplace risks in the oil and gas industry include:
Equipment collisions: Materials need to be moved to and from and in and around energy extraction sites. Often, these are remote sites with extensive motor vehicle travel required to reach them. As such, it’s not surprising that highway motor accidents are the number one cause of worker fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry, contributing to 40% of work-place related deaths.
Struck-by/caught-between incidents: If we limit consideration of deaths to on-site accidents, 60 percent of fatalities result from this group of accidents. These happen in relation to moving vehicles on the site, falling equipment, and accidents involving high-pressure lines. Cranes, derricks, hoists, vehicles, and falling items in general are all factors in these accidents. When heavy equipment collides or falls, human workers are most likely to be injured.
Falls: The same conditions that make struck-by injuries common foster the occurrence of falls. Workers must access many elevated locations and platforms, and falls are common and often catastrophic.
Electricity: Uncontrolled electrical and other energy can cause accidents. Procedures are needed for all such equipment operations.
High-pressure lines: Compressed gases are common on oil and gas work sites. Leaks, erosion, and poor connections can create worker hazards and lead to other serious problems.
Fires and explosions: Given the materials used in this industry, it’s not surprising that workers in oil and gas face a high risk of fire and explosion on the job. The extraction wells present risks, and gases can come from trucks and production or surface equipment. These gases can ignite from contact with static, electricity, open flames, cigarettes, lightning, welding and cutting tools (sparks), and hot surfaces.
Physical stress injuries: The nature of the oil and gas industry requires heavy lifting, bending, working over one's head, repetitive work, and working in stressed positions. All of these lead to potential physical injuries that can have long-term consequences.
Clearly, the oil and gas industry poses significant risks for employees, and companies within the industry need to avoid these hazards in order to protect their business and their workforce. So, how can conversational AI help to reduce and control these hazards and, by doing so, increase oil and gas industry workplace safety?
Conversational AI Provides On-Site, On-Demand Support
Conversational AI can connect to a company’s external and internal support resources to quickly gather information such as maintenance specifications, average reservoir porosity, details around faults, and other technical issues that, if unresolved, might lead to accidents. In addition, AI virtual assistants can answer questions and provide status reports to operators as they move from one place to another. Access to such information, data, and guidance can contribute tremendously to a safe work environment.
Similarly, the immediate responsiveness of an AI virtual assistant allows it to receive unstructured questions from workers then engaged in maintenance on the field. The virtual AI assistant can analyze the issues raised by the worker and offer immediate real-time solutions based on an extensive archive of experience and insight in its data banks.
That same conversational AI assistant will help you train your new hires. Their extensive knowledge of information about a site's processes can prove valuable for new hires. Questions that arise in early assignments can be answered immediately rather than waiting for mistakes to occur. Learning experiences, in other words, will be smoother, more precise and, thus, not disastrous.
Moreover, by using conversational AI assistants you will access and reduce the time spent on data collection, interpretation, and simulation. The virtual AI bot can leverage the company’s internal programs and applications to help workers prioritize drilling locations, find optimal well spacing, build type curves, and much more.
Conversational AI are "your eyes and ears" in the minefields of the oil and gas industry. An AI virtual assistant will help you monitor and report on various equipment readings, while warning workers when a potential issue is developing. Defects in equipment or processes, which can, if neglected, cost millions and injure or kill workers, can be resolved while still minor.
For example, a challenge in the field can be identifying improper threading in pipelines or defects in the industry's many error-prone mechanisms. If the defects get found at the end of the production line because of performance issues, there is a significant cost factor misusing budget resources. These potential losses are far higher than the cost of using AI virtual assistants to check for and warn of these problems.
Conversational AI Helps You Enforce Accident Prevention
Your virtual AI assistants can be taught your company-specific policies, procedures, and specifications requiring monitoring and enforcement. Train them to look for problems in these areas and they will notify you of issues that might become significant hazards. Once management is aware of these problems, resources can be immediately assigned to resolve the issue before a crisis occurs.
A virtual AI assistant's "knowledge" of specifications and tolerances can also prevent significant equipment failures. Trained to monitor for corrosion and other similar maintenance issues, conversational AI can add to workplace safety by pointing out minor maintenance problems that might otherwise not get noticed. Once reported, these minor issues can be routinely resolved, and significant expenses arising out of, for example, a significant pipeline failure can be prevented.
With Conversational AI, You Will Make More Informed Decisions
Even where the virtual AI assistant only provides data, it can significantly contribute to creating a safe work environment. That is, the data and analysis that a virtual AI assistant can produce at any given moment supports the ultimate decision-maker in making an informed decision. Having the data involving potential equipment problems and real-time analysis of the potential result of those equipment problems can allow the human decision-maker to confidently resolve potential hazards.
How Does a Virtual AI Assistant Help Your Workers in the Field?
Conversational AI in the field can be invaluable to oil and gas workers. Not only is the virtual AI assistant’s information critical to the decision-making process, but accessing that information and advice through ordinary conversation in a hands-free environment can hugely reduce the stress of consulting the AI bot in the first place. Real-time data, current specs, and repair procedures can instantly be provided to the worker in crisis in the field, allowing problem-solving and cost reductions through conversational AI.
How Does Conversational AI Help You in the Exploration and Extraction Process?
As we struggle with the transition from a fossil-fuel-based economy to alternative energy, it is clear that the transformation will not yet immediately replace all fossil fuels. For this reason, the knowledge and experience that a virtual AI assistant can bring to various stages of the exploration and extraction process are immense.
Drones gather information which will be downloaded to your internal systems. Through the conversational layer, a virtual AI assistants is able to trigger complex automations, connecting to your enterprise systems and RPA technologies to complete business task. Like, for example, in our case - analyzing amounts of data to serve it to a human decision-maker. This not only saves time and energy, but it also helps decision makers to knowingly decide on the best option.
Optimizing Oil and Gas Through Conversational AI
Conversational AI isn’t a miracle cure in the oil and gas industry, but it can contribute significantly to a better use of the human capital. Companies will ensure that their workforce has the best analysis, the most current information, and the ability to focus their skills on the overall production of energy while maintaining safety and efficiency in the process.
With more intelligent and automated processes facilitated by conversational AI, companies in the oil and gas industry can create and maintain a significantly safer–and more efficient–work environment.
If you’re interested in learning more about what DRUID’s conversational AI solutions can do for you, book a live demo today.