An IBM boss said yesterday there is “no reason” why an oil and gas jobs boom in artificial intelligence (AI) seen elsewhere can’t also be seen in Aberdeen and the North Sea.
Luq Niazi, global marketing director in chemical and petroleum industries for IBM, said he believes “there is absolutely the opportunity” for the North Sea to benefit from a digital revolution while giving the keynote speech at the Future Oil and Gas conference held at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.
Mr Niazi also had some stern advice for the Granite City, suggesting that it uses pre-exiting technology rather than try to “reinvent the wheel”.
He said: “How can you be successful with your digital transformation? The first thing I hope I got across in the context of this initial keynote is that these forces of AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain are driving a digital transformation in the oil and gas sector and they are doing it right now.
“If you think about AI, lots of people are experimenting with AI. My first piece of advice would be: don’t try and reinvent the wheel, learn from stuff that’s already out there. There is renewed opportunity to drive significant innovation and significant business performance improvement in the oil and gas sector. And there is no reason it can’t work here.”
Mr Niazi said his focus is empowering clients to transform their organisations and capability to deliver new levels of performance through digital technology.
Introduced as someone who also helps clients “shape and deliver large scale business and technology transformations”, Mr Niazi spoke of the change he has witnessed in Calgary, Canada through the uptake of AI.
He said: “I recently gave a keynote speech in Calgary. 14 months ago we had four people working in Calgary on AI for one client, now we have over 80 people working on AI there. We have an AI tech hub co-created with the digital innovation partnership within Calgary and my own demand is that we create 160 jobs in the region in AI.
“If we can do it in Calgary, then there is absolutely the opportunity to create new levels of capability here in Aberdeen as it applies to the North Sea.”