Legacy systems and the value of time

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is a diversified group of energy and petrochemical companies that was founded in 1971. ADNOC produces about three million barrels of oil and 10.5 billion cubic feet of raw gas each day. 

The Emerati firm had previously used a labor-intensive process for classifying the characteristics of rock samples, requiring precious time and energy from expert geologists. In this IBM Services case study, you will see that ADNOC needed a faster and more accurate way to classify rock samples to preserve geologists’ time and to help determine the best locations to fulfil their drilling strategy.

ADNOC partnered with IBM Services, IBM Cloud and IBM Watson Visual Recognition to co-create a solution.


Flower recognition software applied in rock classification

After workshops and ideation sessions, ADNOC and IBM deployed a first-of-a-kind cognitive rock classification solution by modeling it from technology used to identify flowers.  After geologists fed high-resolution rock images into a database, they used Watson to analyze and properly identify classes of carbonate rock. This gave ADNOC the ability to classify up to 25,000 thin-section rock images per day. With Watson, they can run a set of images for a whole reservoir in minutes, saving their expert geologists precious time. In the future, ADNOC analyses will broaden to include seismic data, as well. This new analytics approach for the chemicals and petroleum industry is helping ADNOC become a tech leader in the Middle East region.


Preserving knowledge while inspiring the next generation of geologists

You’ll see in this AI case study that the solution had an even greater impact on people than the speed and accuracy of rock classification. It’s difficult for any organization to capture the wealth of knowledge of its people. This is especially true for technical fields such as geology. This knowledge ranges from technical expertise to familiarity with process and culture, as well. This co-created AI-powered solution from IBM and SAP has helped preserve the institutional and scientific expertise of ADNOC geologists to focus on mentoring and teaching the next generation of Emerati geologists.

The benefits

  • Increases delivery speed and consistency of reservoir rock samples\
  • Accelerates model construction to de-risk multibillion dollar reservoir development decisions 
  • Preserves expertise that geologists have spent decades developing 

The time has come for digital transformation to come into the oil and gas business

Qasem M. Al Kayoumi, Technical Center Manager, ADNOC R&D

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