How data centres could lift Woodside shares

AI, data centres and Woodside shares have more in common than you might think.

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When you think of Woodside Energy Group Ltd (ASX: WDS) shares, data centres probably aren't the first thing that springs to mind.

But the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) oil and gas stock is eyeing the booming growth of data centres, and the booming growth in energy demand they're likely to spawn.

As you're likely aware, the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution is heating up to meteoric speed.

This is likely to present a host of positives and negatives for humanity over the decade ahead.

One of the challenges is providing the energy all this new computing power requires. Particularly in a world intent on reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

You see, not only will the rapid advancement of AI see more data centres constructed. These AI enabled data centres also use roughly 10 times as much energy as traditional facilities.

Enter Woodside shares.

How Woodside shares could power your AI co-pilot

As The Australian Financial Review reported, Woodside CEO Meg O'Neill has been discussing the potential for "a liquid hydrogen value chain" with a several data centre operators in Singapore.

The island nation's government has stipulated that data centres must secure their own sustainable energy sources.

Back in March, O'Neill was championing the company's since rejected Climate Transition Action Plan (CTAP) as a potential boon for Woodside shares.

"I firmly believe Woodside is built to thrive through the energy transition and our Climate Transition Action Plan shows how we plan to achieve this," she said.

Indeed, the report released to the ASX contains the word hydrogen 18 times, with Woodside noting its intentions to leverage "infrastructure to monetise undeveloped gas, including optionality for hydrogen".

The company also revealed plans for commercial scale renewable hydrogen produced from electrolysis.

Now, CTAP is headed back to the drawing board after shareholders voted it down in late April.

O'Neill was clearly frustrated by the result. She commented:

The world wants reliable energy, they want cheap energy, they want green energy, and they want all of those three things tomorrow. And the pathway to get from where we are today to where the world would like to be is a pathway that is going to take time.

But Woodside shares could still become more closely linked with hydrogen.

And data centres could help pave the way.

Addressing the data centre operators she's been speaking with in Singapore earlier this week, O'Neill said:

With that kind of customer, we feel like we have an opportunity to work with them to find a solution that will meet their needs and allow us to make these investments in low carbon fuels.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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