Since the first oil well was drilled technology and people have been the driving factor in the success of this industry. The combination of grit, ingenuity and a good set of tools have always been a successful combination. Today we are using technology to make us better, smarter, and faster. Computers and software have allowed us to take leases faster, run title with more speed and accuracy, create reports and run sheets for our clients, and deliver projects more organized and ready to drill than ever before. Now it is time to introduce another tool for our toolbox that will change the way we do our daily jobs. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is here and it is making its way into our everyday lives like never before. The words alone call into mind images of robots taking over the world or The Jetsons cartoons with robot nannies and machines that do our everyday chores for us. If you own a smartphone or have bought Google Home or Alexa you are using Artificial Intelligence. It is here and it is the future of our business.
So what is Artificial Intelligence?
If you look up the definition of Artificial intelligence you will find many answers but this one seemed to me to be the best answer. AI is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. You may also hear the words Machine Learning used to explain this technology. AI and Machine Learning allow computers to gather and assess large amounts of data via scanned documents, reports, or data sets and solve problems similar to the ways a person would. Most systems that are available today allow you to build modules within the system and train them to capture data. Over time AI becomes smarter and will need less human involvement to get the desired results. This makes AI a technology that will change our lives as it becomes smarter. It is not designed to replace the human but to make the human more efficient and accurate without human issues like becoming tired, overworked, and, well, day to day life in general. Keep in mind that you can over train AI and Machine learning and the desired results will not match those of a human.
How can we use AI in Oil & Gas Land?
The first area that we all can use this technology is gathering data from contracts to build our land databases to import information into our land software. Today a Lease Analyst or Landman will enter data into land software from the contracts and lease packages that we create for our employers and clients. This has been a very effective way of doing business for a long time, but requires man hours and money with some projects lasting years to complete. If you didn’t set up all the data initially, you will need to evaluate the data a second time. If we use AI and machine learning technology, we can allow analysts to analyze information instead of performing data entry, increasing efficiency by up to 900%! We can also train new employees faster and let AI to do the heavy lifting. Contracts may have exhibits, addendums, and other supporting documentation. It is important to intelligently break the file into its individual instruments. There may also be a need to place different contracts from a large collection into different processing flows, this is based on identifying differences in contract type, date, geographic region, etc. AI can also detect the point in the contract where the main body of the contract ends and the addendum begins. Knowing this can help us decide where boilerplate language from the body is later altered or overridden in the addendum. These are just some of the things AI and Machine Learning can do.
What are some other things AI can do for the Land Professional?
AI and Machine Learning can also extract data from contracts such as terms, dates, names and addresses, legal descriptions, recording information, and clauses and place them in data sets so that we can use that data in our land systems. Contract clause extraction is particularly beneficial as the clauses in our contracts guide the way we behave in our business. Understanding your contract clauses can save companies from missing deadlines and obligations as set forth in the contracts we use to do business. For many years we would use a Sr. Lease Analyst or Sr. Landman to read clauses and set them up for our software’s to report back to us critical time sensitive items.
“Often two versions of a contract will have two very similar paragraphs, with only a couple words difference. Grooper AI consistently identifies when the meaning of the provision has same intent or a very different implication, which could have otherwise been easily overlooked by staff members.” Tony Benson- Grooper
By using contract clause extraction AI and Machine Learning can use the words of a clause to identify information. AI would read the sequence of words “100 feet below the deepest depth drilled” and instantly identify the clause a Horizontal Pugh or Depth Severance, whichever you trained the AI machine to identify the clause as. This technology allows us to now capture huge amounts of data from our contracts like never before. This allows companies to ask more of their data to make decisions from inception to drill and beyond.
Possibilities of Leveraging the Power of AI
- Distinguish minor details in text and phrases that lead to very different interpretations
- Find more results using full-text search to locate specific content in a repository
- Create consistent data sets and give your users the ability to perform more granular searches
- Discover the contracts that exist throughout your organization located in content repositories, file shares, and email
- Identify and purge duplicate contracts, or compare near-duplicates for possible differences in intent hidden within the body of the contract
- Visibility into your data reduces risk and ensures that obligations are met
- Protect your organization from or during litigation
- Gain valuable insight to feed predictive analytics, maximizing deal value
- Improve procurement processes by evaluating trends of vendors who are providing the most competitive rates
- Increase contract profitability by not missing deadlines and protecting contract renewals or amendments
- Predict the net impact of regulatory changes and maintain compliance
- Reduce time, cost and manual efforts in contract review
- Increase accuracy by eliminating human error
In conclusion, early adopters of AI and Machine Learning will likely develop a significant competitive advantage, and the adoption rate of new technology is exponentially growing faster than it was a few decades ago. Mainstream adoption in the Oil & Gas industry of these new technologies is expected in the next three to five years. Oil & Gas companies, Landmen, Mineral Owners, Operators, Lawyers, Deal Makers and more will soon experience significant efficiencies that will translate into competitive advantages. It is likely time to consider how you and your company could begin to harness the power of AI and Machine Learning to remain relevant in our industry.