German oil and gas company Wintershall Dea has joined forces with IBM Consulting to set up an AI Centre of Competence (CoC).

The energy company has launched an extensive programme to bolster artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

With AI, Wintershall Dea seeks to optimise production and processes across the organisation, save costs and better capitalise on data.

Wintershall Dea’s collaboration with IBM Consulting is expected to optimise its AI approach.

The partnership enables access to a vast pool of AI expertise through IBM Consulting, and the specialists have a track record of working with Wintershall Dea on earlier projects for more than four years, IBM said.

Data scientists from various backgrounds, including geoscientists, engineers, economists, and others with strong mathematical programming skills, were brought together to form the CoC community.

As part of the AI push, the oil and gas company is primarily pursuing two types of AI projects that comprise small, easy-to-implement solutions, called “fireflies”, and conventional, large-scale projects.

Wintershall Dea vice-president of data science, data governance and data hub Ulrich Lorang said: “Driving value through AI definitely is top of mind at every step we are conducting at the CoC. And we already have several proof points that the AI projects empower our workforce and support our business objectives.”

IBM Consulting practice leader AI & analytics Stephan Bloehdorn said: “We are very happy that Wintershall Dea has the confidence in us to support their AI journey.

“With their holistic and integrated approach as well as their drive and energy to achieve real results at every stage of the journey they are a pioneer in AI management.”

Earlier this year, it was reported that German chemicals group BASF, which owns Wintershall Dea, is looking to exit the energy business.

The options being considered for Wintershall Dea include both a stock listing and a sale.