Centre for artificial intelligence for energy launched in Saudi Arabia

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The artificial intelligence for energy centre is a joint initiative of the Saudi Ministry of Energy and the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA).

The new centre is aimed to contribute to the development of national capabilities on data and artificial intelligence (AI) methodologies in the Kingdom and raise its ranking in these areas globally.

The centre, to be based at SDAIA’s headquarters in the capital Riyadh and jointly managed by the two parties, will support, develop, review and implement strategies in the areas of data and AI in the energy and gas sectors, in order to enhance their competitiveness.

The energy sector was identified as a priority sector in the national strategy for data and artificial intelligence, which aims to reach more than 15,000 data and AI specialists by 2030 and to advance cooperation with leading national and international companies in these fields.

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The strategy is targeting local and international investment in data and AI of SA Riyals 75 billion (US$20 billion) by 2030.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Energy, commented at the launch that with the energy sector constituting about 40% of the Kingdom’s GDP, data in the sector represents a large wealth and constitutes a golden opportunity to enhance leadership in the application of artificial intelligence.

“The energy sector depends on data, AI, innovation and transformation as a key pillar for its future. The cooperation will support the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 [to reduce dependence on oil] and other strategies such as the development and diversification of the Saudi economy and the creation of jobs in the sector.”

The centre will focus on four strategic objectives: strengthening national energy priorities, developing AI to improve knowledge, building expertise in the energy sector and promoting the use of energy and AI-based data.

The Department of Energy and SDAIA also plan to support current efforts on the collection, management and analysis of energy data and the development of cloud solutions for the sector.

By 2023, more than half of organisations are expected to be using hosted AI services to strengthen their application portfolios and by 2024 almost three-quarters should be using AI-based infrastructure and smart cloud services.