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IBM Whiteboard Series: Natural Resources
The Natural Resources sector revolves around three phases: exploration, projects and operations. What IBM brings to the table is the ability to solve the really big problems, the long-term strategic issues that keep the CEOs of Natural Resources owner/operators awake at night: in the case of exploration, they’re worried about finding it; in the case of projects, they’re worried about finishing it; and finally in the case of operations, they’re worried about optimising it.

In each case, our approach is the same: we recognise the long-term industry imperative, we then apply surprising thinking to the problem, followed by considered, integrated execution.


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Anita Malhotra

Anita Malhotra

Industry Leadership - Business Development Specialist


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People have used oil from the ground sice at least 4000 BC. In the Middle East, crude oil seeped to the surface and was used as waterproofing and adhesive.  The world's first oil wells were drilled in 1859 near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Gasoline acquired its name from its tendency to vaporise quickly and become gas.  Early oil was transported in barrels. Each barrel is 42 gallons and is the default measure today. The fundamental process of refining involves separating different products by heating them. They have different boiling poins so they evaporate and are condensed separately. Oil 101, Morgan Downey, 2009. People have used oil from the ground sice at least 4000 BC. In the Middle East, crude oil seeped to the surface and was used as waterproofing and adhesive. The world's first oil wells were drilled in 1859 near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Gasoline acquired its name from its tendency to vaporise quickly and become gas. Early oil was transported in barrels. Each barrel is 42 gallons and is the default measure today. The fundamental process of refining involves separating different products by heating them. They have different boiling poins so they evaporate and are condensed separately. Oil 101, Morgan Downey, 2009. Smarter resources to fuel a smarter planet (387KB) 22 opportunities for a smarter planet (5.5MB)

A series of conversations for a smarter planet. Smarter resources to fuel a smarter planet (387KB). 22 Opportunities for a smarter planet (PDF, 5,5MB). A series of conversations for a smarter planet. Smarter resources to fuel a smarter planet (387KB). 22 Opportunities for a smarter planet (PDF, 5,5MB).

Oil Exploration

Maximising Sustainable Opportunities

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Business Spectator Video Case Study: Mining and the myth of productivity

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IBM Australian Oil and Gas Industry Solutions Executive David Haake, explores the future of natural resources and how Australia can take a sustainable view of development.

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Hear from Sam Walsh, CEO of Rio Tinto Iron Ore and Rio Tinto Australia as he discusses the immense wealth that this sector generates, its ongoing management and its limitations.

Everyone has their own price

That is, the gasoline price point that prompts them to change their behavior...whether it is to drive less, carpool, take mass transit, or resolve to buy a more fuel-efficient car.

In the United States, gas prices hit a high this summer—$5.00 in some locations—driving the global energy crisis and the need for smarter oil exploration and production front and centre in our collective conscience.

Projected demand for energy is expected to increase by 50% from 2005 to 2030, mainly from developing economies such as China and India. While there is a renewed focus on nuclear, solar and other alternative energies, experts agree that fossil fuels such as oil and gas will remain a significant source of energy for the foreseeable future.

The "easy oil" has been found
Even today, there is a lot that we do not know about the world's petroleum and natural gas reserves. It is estimated that only 33% of oil is pulled from existing reservoirs. How can we improve recovery rates? Where can we find new reservoirs?

These challenges are complicated by the fact that the "easy oil" has been found. Any recently discovered oil and gas fields are in remote, deep locations, such as the large Tupi field 180 miles off the coast of Brazil, 4.5 miles below salt, rock, sand and seawater.

Getting every drop
When you consider that even a modest improvement in oil recovery of 1.5% can yield enough oil on average for a half year of global consumption...it's clear why innovative energy companies are focused on enhancing the oil recovery of existing reservoirs.

Adding intelligence to oilfields
The time is right because the technology is here: the systems that underlie our oilfields are getting much smarter. Advances in deep computing are pushing 3-D seismic modeling into the next generation, enabling scientists to discern fields that previously were invisible. Autonomic sensing technologies and data analytics are being used to improve oil exploration: identify viable reserves, increase the amount of oil being extracted, improve productivity and anticipate problems, minimising risk to people and the environment. Through virtualisation, fields can be monitored remotely, reducing the strain on the workforce.