“Sandy” Joins the Dots for BP

Published Jan 28, 2019 4:11 AM by The Maritime Executive

BP Ventures has invested $5 million in artificial intelligence it has named “Sandy” to enhance its upstream digital capabilities.

The investment supports BP’s ongoing work exploring opportunities to apply machine learning and cognitive computing in its global oil and gas business. In this case, it is directed at the Houston technology start-up Belmont Technology, a company that has developed a cloud-based geoscience platform using artificial intelligence (AI). 

The platform has a string of unique capabilities including specially-designed knowledge-graphs. BP experts feed the platform geology, geophysics, reservoir and historic project information. It intuitively links that information together, identifying new connections and workflows and creating a robust knowledge-graph of BP’s subsurface assets. Much like data searches available in the consumer domain, BP experts can then interrogate the data, asking the powerful knowledge-graph specific questions in natural language. The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations. 

Aimed at accelerating project lifecycles, from exploration through to reservoir modeling, the technology is targeting a 90 percent time reduction in data collection, interpretation and simulation.

David Eyton, BP’s group head of technology, said: “This AI-based platform, which we’ve nicknamed Sandy, is expected to unlock critical data for our subsurface engineers at a much accelerated pace. Our experts will ask it questions about our reservoirs like, ‘What factors control production in the Chirag field?’ Sandy will then interpret our data, including mapping out many more scenarios than are currently constructed, helping us make faster, better informed upstream decisions.”

BP’s investment will enable Belmont Technology to expand its workforce, extend Sandy’s capabilities and accelerate the deployment of its product.

This investment follows BP’s previous deals in cognitive computing, including $20 million in Series B funding in AI company Beyond Limits. That investment is helping deploy AI technology previously used in deep space exploration missions in offshore exploration, accelerating operational insight and process automation across operations. One of the projects is to examine how to mitigate the impact of sand production in wells, with BP experts teaching the system so that their expertise becomes available digitally.

Belmont’s scalable knowledge-graphs can be interrogated by Beyond Limits’ technology for new insights. 

Video below courtesy of the Society of Petroleum Engineers: