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ExxonMobil goes quantum with IBM

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ExxonMobil will explore the role that quantum computing can play in the energy industry thanks to a new partnership agreement that it has signed with IBM this week during the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Exxon has joined the IBM Q Network which seeks to advance, and find practical applications for, quantum computing.
(Image via IBM).

As part of the agreement, ExxonMobil becomes the first energy company to join the IBM Q Network, a worldwide community of Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, academic institutions and national research labs working to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for science and business.

Whilst the energy industry and quantum computing may not seem to have much in common at first sight, there are in fact a range of applications to which quantum computing could contribute. These include the potential to maximise a country’s power grid, and perform more predictive environmental modelling and highly accurate quantum chemistry calculations to enable discovery of new materials for more efficient carbon capture.
Exxon's new partnership with IBM is just one of many that the company is cultivating with tech companies and academic institutions across the world.
(Image via IBM).

“The scale and complexity of many challenges we face in our business surpass the limits of today’s traditional computers,” says Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development for ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. “Quantum computing can potentially provide us with capabilities to stimulate nature and chemistry that we’ve never had before. As we continue our own research and development efforts in the areas of energy and chemical manufacturing, our agreement with IBM will allow us to expand our knowledge base and potentially apply new solutions in computing to further advance those efforts”.

This new partnership with IBM is just one of many that ExxonMobil is cultivating as it seeks to develop an array of new energy technologies. The energy giant currently works with about 80 universities in the United States, Europe and Asia and is also nurturing relationships with an array of new tech start-ups.
Exxon is the first energy company to join IBM's quantum computing efforts.
(Image via IBM).

Elaborating on this, Swarup says:

“The advancement of new breakthroughs, coupled with the creative application of current technologies available to us from outside the energy sector, will be critical in address the dual challenge of producing energy to fuel economies and meeting consumers’ needs while managing the risks of climate change. Much of the success in our own ingenuity is facilitated by the innovation of others outside our industry, from three-dimensional printing to quantum computing. The many partnerships we lead of participate in around the world provide us with opportunities to exchange ideas and collaborate, applying our own unique experiences, knowledge and strengths toward a potentially successful breakthrough in lower-emission energy production or a more efficient manufacturing process”.

Such partnerships illustrate that the oil industry is embarking upon digitalisation, which as we’ve written previously on EngineeringPro, means that the industry will be seeking workers with skillsets that have previously not been found in the industry. Oil and gas operators are already undertaking efforts to attract the data scientists, statisticians, machine learning specialists and others that will operate the digital oil fields of the near future. At Fircroft, we’re already helping oil companies to recruit these positions.

Want to be part of the oil industry of the future?

Then register with Fircroft today. We recruit technical and engineering professionals for the world’s leading oil and gas operators, and we’re always looking for the brightest and best talent.
Tags: ICT, Oil & Gas
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