Abu Dhabi AI firm Presight buys majority stake in technology joint venture AIQ

Abu Dhabi AI firm Presight buys majority stake in technology joint venture AIQ

A general view of the city skyline at sunset from Dhow Harbour on February 5, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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DUBAI — Abu Dhabi artificial intelligence firm Presight bought a 51% stake in AIQ, a joint technology venture between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and G42, a major Abu Dhabi-based AI and cloud company.

The new ownership structure will see ADNOC holding 49% of the company and giving it a valuation of $1.4 billion, according to a joint company press release.

ADNOC will in turn get a 4% stake in Presight, as it aims to integrate AI into more of its operations and services. AIQ, for its part, will continue as a standalone company within Presight’s portfolio, the release said. AIQ uses AI and machine learning to improve processes in the oil and gas industry.

Speaking to CNBC’s Dan Murphy, AIQ CEO Chris Cooper discussed how his firm has benefitted from ADNOC and how it plans to broaden its applications in the energy industry and globally.

“We’ve had the benefit of the huge volumes of data that ADNOC provide. We’ve also had the insights of the people that come from ADNOC. That [is] combined with our data scientists and software engineers, and also then combined with the infrastructure that’s required to run those models that come from Group 42,” Cooper said.

What the acquisition does, he added, is “leverage the breadth and the reach that Presight has as a global data-driven analytics company to take those solutions that have been built here in the UAE and … take them to a global forum, and really drive, focus on sustainability, focus on safety, and improving operations of all of the energy industry companies that we can now work with.”

Under AIQ’s previous structure, it was owned 60% by ADNOC and 40% by G42. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the minister of industry and advanced technology and ADNOC’s group CEO, will take over as AIQ’s chairman.

Abu Dhabi is pushing ahead with work and investment in AI. Earlier in April, Microsoft invested $1.5 billion in G42, helping spur its expansion plans and develop the UAE’s position as a technology hub.