BP invests in artificial intelligence

UK oil giant BP has invested $20 million in Caltech startup Beyond Limits, an artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing company, which will bring its expertise to the world of oil and gas. 

Beyond Limits said that the investment by BP Ventures, the corporate investment arm of the British company, would accelerate the delivery of industrial-grade AI software, previously used in deep space exploration mission.

It will combine human knowledge with machine learning and provide the energy sector with new levels of operational insight, business optimization and process automation across all operations.

Launched in 2012, Beyond Limits was created to commercialize cutting-edge IP developed by the team after over 20 years of supporting NASA and the space program.

According to the company, the technology has already been field-proven in the extreme environment of space and Beyond Limits will now adapt and deliver industrial AI software on Earth.

As a result of the deal, Meghan Sharp, managing director of BP Ventures for the Americas, will join the Beyond Limits board.

“Our investment in Beyond Limits is an example of BP’s ongoing support of entrepreneurs and innovators not only inside the traditional world of oil and gas but those looking toward a new energy future,” said Sharp.

Beyond Limits believes that this partnership could enable a step change in the way BP locates and develops reservoirs, produces, and refines crude oil and markets and supplies refined products.

The tech company will bring its expertise to the world of oil and gas where its AI software could support improvements in the speed and quality of decision making, manage operational risks, and harness the collective knowledge and experience of its team, the company explained.

AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond Limits, said: “Our goal is to create automated solutions that can think like humans and augment human capability. We are the AI company that provides solutions for problems that cannot be solved using traditional approaches.”

Morag Watson, chief digital innovation officer at BP, added: “Our strategic cooperation with Beyond Limits is a perfect fit with BP’s vision of using digital technology to help transform our organization. We believe artificial intelligence will be one of the most critical digital technologies to drive new levels of performance across the industry.”