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Google Refuses To Assist Oil Companies Citing Ethic Concerns

Google announced on Tuesday that it would no longer build custom AI tools for oil and gas companies, according to the Associated Press, after Greenpeace, which named Google—along with Amazon and Microsoft—in a report, stating that they helped oil and gas companies to find and extract oil and gas, therefore undermining their own carbon pledge.

After being called out on the implied hypocrisy, Google has moved to separate itself from the mega-computing pack—a move that Greenpeace praised.

“While Google still has a few legacy contracts with oil and gas firms, we welcome this indication from Google that it will no longer build custom solutions for upstream oil and gas extraction,” Greenpeace senior corporate campaigner Elizabeth Jardim told AP.

Google will, however, continue to honor all of its existing contracts.

Many in the industry believe that oil and gas companies have already squeezed all available efficiency gains out of their processes after the previous oil downturn forced everyone in the industry to become leaner year ago. With these avenues exhausted, oil and gas companies have become increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence and computing power, which allow them to eke out additional gains from their processes through real-time big data, algorithms to analyze seismic data, deep machine learning, and fuzzy logic, to name a few.

Especially after the coronavirus pandemic stripped away a huge chunk of demand and oil prices fell recently even into negative territory, these AI and computing services have become even more critical to the industry.

Meanwhile, big data, AI, 5G and the IoT—whether or not they are employed by oil and gas companies--could be responsible for 20% of the world’s electricity consumption and 5.5% of the world’s CO2 emissions by 2025 based on findings from a peer-reviewed study by Swedish researcher Anders Andrae, as people scramble to stay connected through smart phones and the internet.  

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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