PTTEP allots $50m for AI, E&P activity

  • May 18, 2019
  • Bangkok Post

SET-listed oil and gas drilling firm PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) has earmarked US$50 million (1.59 billion baht) for a three-year business plan to search for innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to support exploration and production (E&P) activity.

This budget will cover designing mobile apps for PTTEP's petroleum industrial activities.

The investment will be made through PTTEP's wholly owned subsidiary AI and Robotics Ventures Co (ARV), founded last September. ARV began operations at its new office yesterday.

ARV's business plan is designed to provide cutting-edge solutions and service, accelerating research and technology development to enhance business efficiency across industries.

Phongsthorn Thavisin, PTTEP's president and chief executive, said ARV's operations can serve PTTEP and subsidiaries of parent firm PTT.

"ARV is a significant milestone for PTTEP's investment strategy to foster sustainable growth while addressing digital transformation," Mr Phongsthorn said.

ARV builds upon PTTEP's specialised technologies in petroleum E&P activities that have enhanced the company's competitive capability.

Through ARV, this expertise will be available to support other industries outside the energy sector to boost efficiency and business value, Mr Phongsthorn said.

ARV's first three-year (2019-21) investment is aimed at becoming the leading AI and robotics company in Southeast Asia within 3-5 years.

Thana Slanvetpan, the general manager of ARV, said the long-term goal is to become an integrated platform for continuous development in cutting-edge AI and robotics.

"We focus on collaborating with partners from both the academic and industrial sectors, including high-potential startups to create innovative solutions and build a workforce that fits the needs of business today and in the future," Mr Thana said.

One of ARV's latest technologies developed alongside its Norwegian partner is the world's first remotely-operated subsea flowline control and repair robot, capable of performing inspections, repairs and maintenance tasks on underwater petroleum pipelines.

The robot reportedly cuts repair costs in half, requires less time to deploy and minimises human exposure to dangerous operations.

Applications for ARV services and developing technologies range across air, sea and land.

ARV is pioneering AI and robotic solutions, including an autonomous underwater vehicle for preventive inspection of underwater facilities such as petroleum pipelines and platform structures without requiring a support vessel or a large support crew.

The in-pipe inspection robot is for examining petroleum pipelines and providing a 3D visual profile for better predictive maintenance. The unmanned aerial vehicle is for inspecting facilities at height, generating aerial images and surveying agricultural land to help analyse and improve productivity.