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Smarter Oilfields

Get to the "first" oil faster. Increase recovery
rates. Sense and solve
problems before they start.

Smarter oil and gas means much more than simply extracting and refining fossil fuels more efficiently.

The oil and gas industry is all over the news and in our lives every day: heating our homes, fueling our vehicles, and providing source for plastics and other materials. But global demand—especially for natural gas—is rising, ready supply is slowly depleting, and the call for environmentally safer methods is growing.

The risky, dangerous, expensive process of petroleum exploration and production, coupled with the complicated workings and declining profit margins of refining and going to market, means that "smarter" isn't just an ideal. It's a mandate.


A single well can generate more than 200 DVDs worth of data daily, and petroleum engineers can spend 60 percent of their time mining that data 
World energy consumption by fuel, 1990-2035

Tapping the reservoir of possibilities

In a digital oilfield, instrumentation enables such leading-edge technologies as horizontal drilling and multilateral wells, but completely integrated operations can be hard to find. Heavy reliance on human rather than analytical interpretation, especially when the outcome of readings and measurements are isolated instead of shared and analyzed for patterns, can only slow the rate of progress.

When even small improvements can add up to multi-billion dollar payoffs, vast gains can be made from insights and actions when data is integrated and analyzed in real time. Three key areas stand out as ways the industry can work smarter:

Enhanced exploration and production

  • Integration of seismic and geologic data from multiple sources, and use of advanced data modeling combined with supercomputing to increases successful recovery in the field
  • Analytics, optimization and visualization that can render increasingly complex data in more intuitive ways for more effective field production
  • Extending the lives of oil and gas fields by achieving optimal recovery of oil-in-place

Improved refining and manufacturing efficiency

  • Near-real-time visibility into operations to help control costs and optimize the performance of employees, assets and facilities
  • Advanced analytics that support the development of actionable insights and enable more agile responses to variables such as market dynamics and supply chain dependencies
  • Definition of performance indicators to address safety, environmental impact and regulatory compliance

Optimized global operations

  • Shared operational information across professional, geographic, national and chronological boundaries
  • Sensor-based technologies that capture real-time field, plant, pipeline and logistics information to help improve planning and decision support
  • Advanced analytics to help optimize supply chains worldwide


IBM client solution centers,Natural Resource Solutions labs 
: Perth, Australia; Rio de Janeiro, South America; 
Solutions Experience Lab: Dallas, USA
Oil and Gas Solution Center: Stavanger, Norway
Oil Sands Development Center: Calgary, Canada

IBM client solution centers enable clients to learn best practices and simulate, test and collaborate on solutions


Intelligent oilfields around the planet
Since 1955, IBM has been in the oil business. Today, we have five research facilities developing intelligent oilfields: in Calgary, Canada; Stavanger, Norway; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Beijing, China; and Moscow, Russia.

Smarter oil exploration
Madrid-based Repsol partnered with IBM and scientists around the world to improve the accuracy of deep sea oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico by harnessing the most powerful multicore processing technology on the planet for seismic data analysis.

Pumping up production
Norwegian oil and gas company StatoilHydro is using sensors and telemetry to monitor conditions in real time. By pooling all of the sensory data from fields and rigs, and combining it with 3-D visualization, they can make smarter decisions.

Integrating geologies
IBM helped Landmark, a product service line of Halliburton Energy Services, to integrate silos of basin modeling data, seismic data and, for the first time, rock physics to determine the size and quality of potential oil and gas fields.

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