Woodside surges past Twitter

Woodside surges past TwitterAdapting fast: Shaun Gregory, from Woodside, speaks at yesterday’s Innovation in the Resource Sector hosted by Networking WA event. Picture: Steve Ferrier

The head of Woodside Petroleum’s technology arm says he has been stunned by the sudden scale and penetration of technology within the business, with the oil and gas giant now hosting bigger data platforms than Silicon Valley heavyweights such as Twitter.

In a broad discussion on the use of technology within Woodside, company senior vice-president of strategy, science and technology Shaun Gregory told a Networking WA event yesterday that the next 10 years would be defined by efficiencies gained through artificial intelligence.

Speaking on the use of analytics within its business — which, broadly, enables Woodside to examine huge sets of data and discover trends to predict outcomes in its operations and exploration efforts — Mr Gregory said he had been shocked by the scale and speed of its use within the company.

“Four months ago we had nothing in analytics,” he said. “Today, our analytics platform is larger than Twitter’s. I’ve never seen technology scale so fast and penetrate so quick.”

Similar to its WA counterparts Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, Woodside, which has its own artificial intelligence division, has embraced the use of robotics and automation.

Mr Gregory said the common criticism that it took away jobs ignored simple facts.

“In oil and gas, without a doubt (we will face more automation and robotics),” he said. “And yes, jobs will be lost, but new jobs will be created.

“For example, (in Woodside) in the past we needed to build a whole lot of scaffolding to inspect something’s height — get people up and bring them down. Today, we can use drones to go up, have a look and then come down. It’s safer and quicker.

“Perhaps we lost a scaffolder but we gained a drone pilot — it’s new jobs with new skills.”

The West Australian

Source: Woodside surges past Twitter

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