Batteries beat oil and gas as AI startup focuses on critical mineral exploration

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By Webdesk

There has been a lot talk about how the energy transition could cost jobs in key sectors of the economy such as oil and gas. But what is often not mentioned is the number of jobs that can be gained.

Take a Canadian startup as an example. GeologicAI started life under a different name and serves oil and gas customers. Those customers drilled core samples deep underground and sent them to the Calgary facility, where it would use advanced equipment to scan samples and assess whether the customer was targeting a significant reservoir.

“If you’re a high-end professional who’s good with data, it’s really easy to set up a consulting firm and do research for major oil companies,” GeologicAI co-founder and CEO Grant Sanden told TechCrunch+. “That’s what we did.”

But as many people in the startup world know, consulting firms don’t scale well. They can make good money, but they don’t have the kind of potential that a truly scalable company has.

“Then we got involved with Creative Destruction Labs, an interesting accelerator that came out of Toronto,” Sanden said. The company began exploring other ways to apply the technology, including scaling up its sensor suite and machine learning algorithms to process a large volume of core samples.

However, oil and gas companies scan relatively small amounts of rock and were willing to pay a hefty sum to have it evaluated in detail. That’s fine for a consultancy, but not for a startup looking to scale. Very large mines, on the other hand, drill 400 kilometers of core every year. That’s just for one mine. “The world has 75 million feet of rock that we need to scan,” Sanden said.

The problem was that miners did not want to pay the same rates as oil and gas companies. “So we re-evaluated what costs work and we reduced costs, so it was a good idea,” he said.

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