‘Big Data can increase oil production by 80bn barrels’

oil barrel-wilhei pixabaySmart sensors and Big Data analytics could help oil companies extract an additional 80bn barrels of oil around the world, about three years’ worth of global crude supplies, GE has revealed

“The size of the prize is really big,” said Ashley Haynes-Gaspar, general manager at GE Measurement & Control, at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).

Over the last three years, GE said that it has invested US$1bn in a software centre in California dedicated to advancing the ‘industrial internet’, which is the combination of GE’s capabilities in data analytics and its understanding of how equipment is used, which can be translated into physical models.

The software giant noted that many in the industry have far to go in adopting Big Data. It said, for instance, one independent producer had 40 computer systems collecting data from four million different streams before GE pared it down to one system.

Still, the nine-month slide in crude prices has spurred more conversations between GE and its customers about how to use analytics to pare down energy costs and boost production.

“Oil companies have been at the table telling us what we need to build and we’ve been running those in 60-day to 90-day spreads,” GE added.

The industrial internet mirrors a broader effort at GE to bring in technologies from different parts of its industrial conglomerate like aviation and healthcare to the oil and gas business and other divisions.

For instance, GE’s new ‘20K’ blowout preventers, capable of surviving higher pressures and temperatures than most oilfield equipment, which are a cross-section of modified parts from other GE units.

Eric Gebhardt, chief technology officer for GE Oil & Gas, said that the blowout preventer has control systems originally designed for power plants and wind energy technology. Also sensors from an acquired firm allows GE to listen for leaks in the emergency valve.

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