Microsoft said Monday it has struck a deal with Chevron to become the oil and gas giant’s primary cloud provider for the next seven years.
Under the deal, Chevron is poised to migrate development of new applications to the Azure cloud and will gradually move over legacy data apps already in use. The two companies will also share research and development and embed technical staff with each other.
In a blog post, Microsoft said the partnership will “infuse Chevron with even more computing power to accelerate its work in data analytics and the Internet of Things.” Microsoft will also develop products specific for Chevron “to transform the growing amount of data it generates into performance-driving intelligence.”
“Chevron is a very sophisticated consumer of data, compute and IoT,” said Tom Keane, head of global infrastructure for Microsoft Azure. “While they’re excellent today at high-performance computing, the intent of this partnership is, ‘How can we bring that together with Microsoft Azure and more efficiently do oil exploration? Or more efficiently do sensor management from an offshore oil rig?”
Chevron said Azure will be a key component of its overall digital transformation, leveraging Microsoft’s cloud computing capabilities to help digitize its oil fields.
In particular, Chevron Chief Information Officer Bill Braun said they plan to use Azure to help manage massive amounts of data from oil production facilities, drillships, drill sensors and fiber optic cables. For example, Chevron’s new facility in Kazakhstan “can generate more data than all the data produced by the company’s refineries in North America,” Braun said. That plant will eventually stream data to more than one million sensors.
“What are we going to do with that data? How do we harness it?” Braun said. “Azure is going to be very helpful in getting real-time data, handling the volume and giving us the ability to scale and apply analytics.”
The partnership also represents a major win for Microsoft in the still developing race by cloud providers to court mega corporate customers. Microsoft recently announced major cloud deals with Symantec and Costco, while its biggest competitor in the cloud, market-share leader Amazon, said it had recently locked down enterprise cloud deals with Hulu, Toyota Racing Development and FICO.