Aramco team wins first place in Google Cloud Emissions Hackathon

Aramco Houston AI Team
Aramco used geospatial analytics and integrated machine learning from Google to develop deep learning models applied over satellite and air-borne imagery to detect and map methane plumes to better identify fugitive emissions and optimize carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects. (left to right) Weichang Li, Team Lead, Artificial Intelligence Group, Aramco Research Center-Houston, with winning team members Lei Fu, Yong Ma, Ali Almadan, Tao Lin, Chicheng Xu, and Farhan Naseer.

Researchers from the Artificial Intelligence Team based at the Aramco Research Center-Houston won first place at the recent Google Cloud Emissions Hackathon held in Houston.

This industry-first award illustrates the company's strength in developing and commercializing AI technology solutions for energy industry challenges. The Hackathon win complements Aramco's recently announced Global AI Corridor project.  

The multidisciplinary six-member team of data scientists used geospatial tools from Google and developed deep learning models over satellite imagery to detect and map methane plumes—better identifying fugitive emissions and detecting emissions sources to improve modeling for Leak Detection & Repair or LDAR solutions.  The team also examined ways to optimize carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects.

Judges were impressed with the team's machine learning capability and utilization of Google's geospatial products to solve upstream decarbonization challenges.   The work represents state-of-the-art AI driven emissions monitoring technology.

“We have an on-going project with EXPEC ARC initiated by the Northern Area Gas Production Department to monitor field emission levels and production field asset integrity using satellite, airborne, drone, and ground imaging/sensing measurements,” said Weichang Li, Team Lead, Artificial Intelligence Group, Aramco Research Center-Houston.

Li explains that as part of the project a collaboration with Google was initiated to use their products as the prototyping basis for developing a deep learning framework for an integrated solution of emission detection.  When they saw the work Aramco was doing to develop and apply AI technology to energy industry challenges, Google invited Aramco Americas to participate at their first Emission Hackathon, according to Li.

“The ultimate goal is to provide a critical mass and expertise in the area of AI and machine learning to support Aramco's business priorities,” said Li.

“Aramco has quickly established its leading position in AI technology. This recognition is a testament to the quality of our research,” said Mohammad Alaskar, Director of Aramco Americas R&D.

Learn more about Aramco's Global AI Corridor strategy from recent remarks by Amin H. Nasser, President & CEO, Saudi Aramco, during the Global AI Summit in Riyadh.

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