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Two giants partner in research project


Shell is collaborating with IBM in research intended to extend the life of oil and natural gas fields. IBM’s analytics and simulation experience will combine with Shell’s subsurface and reservoir know-how to develop a more accurate picture of energy recovery.

As a result of applying improved algorithms, analytics and accelerated simulations, Shell can reduce the “educated guesswork” and extract natural resources with greater confidence and efficiency, IBM reported recently. Gerald Schotman, executive VP of Shell Innovation, Research & Development, says, “Two industrial research giants are coming together to solve a very specific, real-world problem and make the most of oil and natural gas reservoirs. This will not be done through expensive, experimental facilities, but by bringing together a powerful team and powerful computers so we can be smarter than before.”

Reconciling often-different views of oil and natural gas fields can take months to complete and involves measurements of production volumes, flow rates and pressures. The two companies will reformulate and automate that task of reconciling diverse data and create a more sophisticated mathematical optimization solution. The result will become part of Shell’s proprietary reservoir modeling toolkits for application in new oil and natural gas developments as well as in existing assets, according to IBM.

John E. Kelly III, senior VP and director of IBM Research, says, “Using predictive analytics to drive new intelligence into oil and natural gas reservoir management has the potential to extend the life of existing oil and gas fields—an important endeavor in this era of finite resources and environmental responsibility.”


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