Innovative Solutions, Expertly Engineered: Mariem Akrout’s Vision Transforming Energy Sector Capital Projects

Mariem Akrout | Chief Executive Officer AI.Energy
Mariem Akrout | Chief Executive Officer AI.Energy

For decades, Conventional Energy Sectors such as Oil & Gas and Mining have been preeminent in global energy production, their dominance upheld by entrenched practices and traditional methodologies. Within these sectors, Mariem Akrout Chief Executive Officer at AI.Energy emerges as a pivotal figure, embodying the fusion of innovation and perseverance. Her journey heralds a future where Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands poised to reshape the very foundations of these industries.

Mariem is a seasoned professional with a background as a capital project engineer who embarked on her transformative journey over a decade ago. Her immersion within engineering offices, fabrication workshops and remote construction sites revealed inefficiencies and obstacles begging for innovative solutions. It was amidst these challenges that Mariem’s fascination with AI ignited, recognizing its potential to modernize age-old practices.

During evenings and weekends, Mariem started gaining knowledge of the intricacies of AI, recognizing its transformative potential. Through self-directed studies and contributions to open-source projects, she honed her skills and cultivated a deep understanding of AI’s applicability in real-world scenarios.

A pivotal moment in Mariem’s journey arrived with a fortuitous partnership with the individual who would later assume the role of AI.Energy’s Chief Technology Officer. Their shared passion for innovation and commitment to revolutionizing the energy sector through AI catalyzed the inception of AI.Energy. Together, they embarked on a collaborative endeavor, channeling their expertise to develop AI solutions tailored specifically for capital projects within the energy sector.

The establishment of AI.Energy stands as a reflection to Mariem’s untiring dedication and entrepreneurial spirit. From her humble beginnings of exploring AI in her spare time to co-founding a company dedicated to harnessing its power, Mariem’s journey embodies resilience and innovation.

Today, as Mariem and her team at AI.Energy continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible, their ethos remains steadfast. Rooted in overcoming obstacles and fostering innovation, they navigate the complexities of the traditional energy industry with a singular focus—to leverage AI as a catalyst for monumental change.

Seamless Integration

In Mariem’s vision, the future of energy projects is clear, “We envision a future of cost-effective, timely-executed energy projects, centered around AI.” This vision encapsulates a landscape where capital projects within the energy sector achieve unprecedented cost-effectiveness and minimal delays. At the core of this transformation lies AI, poised to revolutionize industry standards.

Mariem and her team are dedicated to this mission, aiming to integrate AI seamlessly into every facet of capital project management. From initial feasibility assessments to project execution and completion, AI plays a central role. By leveraging AI in this manner, Mariem’s goal is to empower companies and engineers to focus on their core competencies, optimizing efficiency and productivity while aligning with the vision of reduced costs and delays.

Setting New Standards

Mariem emphasizes the transformative impact of AI.Energy solutions in revolutionizing project management within the energy sector, “AI.Energy solutions accelerate detailed engineering processes by automating design analysis, ensuring specification compliance and uncovering optimization opportunities.”

In her pursuit of redefining conventional Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Commissioning (EPCC) project management, Mariem strategically harnesses AI to augment and streamline planning and execution processes across various project phases. This approach begins with the integration of AI in feasibility studies and Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) stages. By implementing AI.Energy solutions, Mariem significantly enhances the consistency and speed of engineering reviews ensuring that project designs meet initial requirements and also achieve them more cost-effectively by reducing the duration of early project lifecycle phases.

As projects progress to the execution phase, AI.Energy solutions continue to play a vital role in detailed engineering, automating design analysis, ensuring specification compliance, and uncovering optimization opportunities. This effectively accelerates the engineering process.

In the procurement phase, Mariem’s strategy focuses on expediting the purchasing process through the utilization of AI.Energy software suite for vendor and supplier selection, material requirement planning and logistics optimization. This ensures a more efficient procurement of materials and services.

Moreover, Mariem’s company strategy significantly speeds up the construction phase by leveraging the advantages gained from AI.Energy solutions in the engineering and procurement stages. This guarantees prompt availability of construction-related engineering documents and prevents delays due to material shortages at the site, ensuring smooth and efficient advancement of construction work fronts.

During the commissioning phase, Mariem’s strategy involves using AI to systematically validate systems and subsystems, ensuring they meet start-up and operational readiness requirements and comply with safety standards, thus accelerating the commissioning process.

Through the strategic integration of AI into EPCC project workflows, Mariem’s company boosts the efficiency and effectiveness of conventional project management processes and leads the charge towards a new era in EPCC projects. This strategy ensures swifter, more cost-effective and accurate project execution, setting new industry benchmarks and underscoring their leadership in adopting AI for EPCC projects, ultimately advancing energy security and access.

Maximizing Budget Efficiency

Mariem underlines the tangible benefits experienced by clients who leverage AI.Energy solutions, “By leveraging our solutions, our clients have achieved cost reductions ranging from 5 to 9% of their overall project budget.” The significant impact of these savings is evident, with approximately 80% stemming from minimizing delays related to engineering and expediting the procurement processes.

Presently, AI.Energy offers two primary solution streams tailored for Energy Capital projects. This includes their first generation of AI models alongside a comprehensive software suite. The suite comprises three essential tools specifically designed to support project and discipline engineers throughout the Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Commissioning (EPCC) phases.

Costs Savings and Reduction of Delays

Mariem notes the significant impact of AI.Energy solutions on client budgets: “Currently, by leveraging our solutions, our clients have achieved cost reductions ranging from 5 to 9% of their overall project budgets, with variations depending on project types and specific client circumstances.” The majority of these savings, approximately 80% resulting from minimizing delays related to engineering and expediting the procurement processes.

Furthermore, Mariem emphasizes that by ensuring the prompt release of necessary engineering deliverables required for construction activities, along with the timely arrival of materials required for construction and commissioning on site, our solutions boost construction phase efficiency. This reduces the need for reworks and minimizes downtime on-site, thereby mitigating the risk of budget overruns.

Enhancing Focus on Core Skills

AI.Energy solutions redefine engineering workflows, decreasing the time engineers spend on unproductive activities such as document review and allowing them to focus more on core engineering skills, such as problem-solving, optimization and innovation. This transformation improves project execution and fosters a conducive environment for engineering innovation.

Contributions to Energy Security and Transition

Mariem highlights that the technology boosts global energy capacity and enables access to vital minerals for renewable technologies, thus enhancing global energy security. This contribution supports the energy transition and fosters economic growth playing a crucial role in the broader energy landscape.

Innovating Together

Mariem elaborates on AI.Energy’s strategic approach to embedding AI within Energy Capital projects: “We’ve established partnerships with leading entities in the oil and gas, mining and renewable energy sectors, launching pilot projects that aim to set new standards in their development project execution.”

At AI.Energy, the strategy revolves around forging partnerships and enhancing industry awareness to drive widespread adoption of their vision. Mariem outlines the benefits for both AI.Energy and its clients:

Strategic Industry Collaborations and Pilot Projects: Through partnerships with industry leaders, AI.Energy executes pilot projects showcasing the practical application of AI solutions. These initiatives highlight how AI optimizes EPCC processes by boosting project efficiency, reducing costs and expediting timelines. Continuous refinement based on historical project data ensures AI solutions meet and exceed industry needs.

Knowledge Sharing and Engagement: Active participation in industry events allows AI.Energy to share successes in integrating AI into Energy capital projects. By illustrating tangible benefits such as enhanced efficiency and substantial cost savings, AI.Energy fosters an innovation-centric culture, encouraging the industry to embrace new technologies for significant advancements in project management.

The focus on partnership development and knowledge dissemination aims not only to promote AI.Energy but also to demonstrate the value AI solutions bring to clients and the industry. By leading with successful examples and advocating for the benefits of AI, AI.Energy seeks to catalyze a shift towards more intelligent, efficient and sustainable management of energy capital projects, benefiting all stakeholders involved.

Engineered Excellence

Mariem emphasizes the pivotal role of AI.Energy engineers in driving innovation within the energy sector: “Our engineers blend decades of industry-specific experience in oil & gas and mining with advanced expertise in artificial intelligence.”

At AI.Energy, engineers form the backbone of innovation combining extensive industry experience with AI proficiency to propel the company forward. Their role extends apart from technical duties. They are pioneers in energy trends, crafting tailored AI solutions for each project phase. This collaborative synergy between seasoned experts and AI technologists ensures projects are efficient and groundbreaking.

The dedication and ingenuity of AI.Energy engineers are instrumental in transforming traditional EPCC project management, paving the way for more sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions.

Navigating Resistance

Mariem reflects on navigating leadership within the evolving tech landscape of the conservative, male-dominated energy sector: “Change, irrespective of the gender of those spearheading it, invariably encounters resistance.”

In response, Mariem’s approach is rooted in developing client-centric solutions to gradually gain acceptance from key project stakeholders. In her words, “By developing solutions designed around client benefits, we are gradually gaining acceptance by key project stakeholders.” She believes in articulating the advantages of innovations in a manner that presents a win-win scenario for all parties involved.

This foundational belief guides Mariem’s leadership style and strategic decisions. Prioritizing solutions that directly benefit clients and communicating these benefits clearly has allowed AI.Energy to introduce new technologies and methodologies within the traditionally resistant industry. Demonstrating tangible improvements in efficiency, cost savings and project success has been crucial in fostering broader acceptance and facilitating change implementation.

Moving forward, Mariem aims to continue leveraging this approach to drive inclusive, impactful change. By focusing on benefit-centric solutions and transparent communication, she seeks to challenge the status quo and cultivate a more open, diverse and innovative energy sector. This endeavor aims to break down barriers of resistance and pave the way for a future where technology and diversity are embraced as catalysts for growth and improvement.

Inclusive Engineering

Mariem shares her perspective on navigating her path as a young woman engineer: “I’ve always held a firm belief that my gender does not dictate my capabilities as an engineer.”

Embracing both her identity as a woman and her passion for engineering, Mariem strives for excellence in her field, prioritizing being the best engineer in the room. She acknowledges the challenges of maintaining this stance consistently, recounting moments where her belief clashed with her experiences. Faced with obstacles, Mariem had to choose between persevering or stepping away, with each decision contributing to personal growth and resilience.

These experiences have shaped Mariem’s approach, which she now imparts to young women in the energy and technology sectors. She encourages them to focus on excellence in their roles, refusing to let gender be an excuse for not exceeding expectations. Mariem emphasizes the importance of recognizing that perceived gender barriers reflect others’ limitations, not their own.

The key, Mariem suggests, lies in developing strategies to navigate challenges. Whether possessing the necessary tools to engage with confidence or taking a step back until equipped to confront obstacles effectively, this approach applies to all challenges within dynamic industries like energy and technology.