Both BP and Eni report that they have taken steps to increase their in-house computing power as a means of digital transformation, particularly in the management of data obtained from seismic exploration activities.
In January, Eni launched its new HPC4 supercomputer at its Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone, 60 km (37 mi) from Milan. The system will quadruple the company’s computing power, providing 18.6 Petaflops at peak. This, combined with the HPC3 supercomputing system already in operation, lifts Eni’s computational peak capacity to 22.4 Petaflops.
BP says it has more than doubled the total computing power of its Center for High-Performance Computing in Houston, a move that is designed to enable further industry breakthroughs in advanced seismic imaging and rock physics research, to help with reservoir modeling. (Courtesy BP)
According to the latest official Top 500 supercomputers list published last November, Eni’s HPC4 is among the top 10 most powerful systems in the world.
The Green Data Center serves as a single IT Infrastructure to host all of the HPC architecture and other business applications. Together, the HPC3 and the new HPC4 support the company’s process of digital transformation, from E&P activities to management of big data generated in the operational phase by all Eni’s productive assets (upstream, refining, and petrochemicals).
HPC4 will support execution and evolution of the company’s 3D seismic imaging packages and advanced petroleum system modeling, with what Eni claims are state-of-the-art reservoir simulation algorithms.
CEO Claudio Descalzi said: “We can store and process enormous quantities of data for geophysical imaging, the modeling of oil systems and reservoirs, in addition to using predictive and cognitive computing algorithms for all our business activities. These technologies will enable us, on the one hand, to accelerate and make the entire upstream process more efficient and accurate, reducing risks in the exploration phase.”
Other benefits, he added, should be increased reliability, technical integrity and operability of all the company’s productive plants, and minimized operational risks, with benefits in terms of safety and environmental impact.
“With HPC4 we are tracing the path for the use of exascale supercomputers in the energy sector that could revolutionize the way in which oil and gas activities are managed,” Descalzi added. The new hybrid HPC cluster provided by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is built on 1600 HPE ProLiant DL380 nodes, each equipped with two Intel 24-core Skylake processors (more than 76,000 cores in total) and two NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPU accelerators, all connected through a high-speed EDR InfiniBand. The new system will work alongside a high performance 15 Petabytes storage subsystem.
In December, BP announced that it had more than doubled the total computing power of its Center for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) in Houston, making it “the most powerful supercomputer in the world for commercial research,” according to BP.
Increased computing power, speed and storage will reduce the time needed to analyze large amounts of seismic data to support exploration, appraisal and development plans as well as other research and technology developments throughout the company.
Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s head of upstream technology, said: “Our investment in supercomputing is another example of BP leading the way in digital technologies that deliver improved safety, reliability and efficiency across our operations and give us a clear competitive advantage.”
BP says that the CHPC provides critical support to its upstream business segment, where it serves as its worldwide hub for research computing. BP’s computer scientists and mathematicians at the CHPC say they have enabled industry breakthroughs in advanced seismic imaging and rock physics research to help with reservoir modeling.
Working with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel using HPE’s Apollo System and Intel’s Knights Landing processors, BP says that the recent upgrade has boosted the processing speed of BP’s supercomputer from four petaflops to nine petaflops. A petaflop of processing speed is one thousand trillion floating point operations, or “flops,” per second.
The supercomputer has a total memory of 1,140 terabytes (1.14 petabytes) and 30 petabytes of storage, the equivalent of over 500,000 iPhones.
“With the expansion and new systems in place, BP will be able to further bolster its capabilities to accurately process and manage vast amounts of seismic data to identify new business opportunities and improve operational efficiency,” said Alain Andreoli, senior vice president and general manager, Data Center Infrastructure Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Since the CHPC opened in 2013, BP has quadrupled its computing power and doubled its storage capacity, and plans to continue expanding its computing capability in 2018.
Fugro preparing work offshore Abu Dhabi
Fugro has started work on geophysical and geotechnical surveys for Artelia, as part of ADNOC’s offshore sour gas Hail and Ghasha fields. The company has deployed a range of equipment for the task including self-elevating platforms for geotechnical work and crew accommodation.
At the Hail field, an inter-tidal shoal area, it is conducting surveys with amphibious buggies. In deeper water, the survey vessel Fugro Proteus is performing marine geophysical and bathymetric surveys.
Chris Arnott, Fugro’s project delivery manager, said: “The geotechnical workscope includes boreholes, grab samples, vibrocores, cone penetration tests, pressuremeters and downhole seismic.”
Geophysical survey activities comprise bathymetric, multi-beam echo sounder, tide gauges, ultra-high resolution seismic sub-bottom profiling, magnetometer and side scan sonar tasks.
Shearwater lands two-block seismic survey offshore Myanmar
Total and Eni have awarded Shearwater GeoServices a 10,000-sq km (3,861-sq mi) marine seismic acquisition services contract for their 2018 exploration program offshore Myanmar.
Shearwater will deploy the vessel Polar Empress for the six-month survey, due to start this month, over blocks YWB and MD-04, 300 km (186 mi) offshore.
The Polar Empress, built in 2015, has a capacity of up to 22 streamers, and is claimed to be one of the world’s most powerful and efficient seismic vessels.
In November, an unnamed national oil company awarded Shearwater a five- to six-month contract. The company began mobilizing the Polar Duchess and Polar Marquis vessels for the campaign last month.