BP Ventures, the investment arm of London-based multinational oil and gas company BP, has made a significant investment in an AI startup it hopes will strengthen its upstream energy exploration and production capabilities.
BP’s $5 million stake in Belmont Technologies will give the oil and gas giant access to the startup’s AI-powered, cloud-based geoscience platform. According to BP, the Houston company’s platform provides unique capabilities through its specially-designed “knowledge-graphs.”
Analysts at BP can provide the cloud platform geology, geophysics, reservoir, and historic project information, and then the platform will comprehensively analyze that information together, identify new connections and workflows, and create a thorough knowledge-graph of BP’s subsurface assets.
“Much like data searches available in the consumer domain, BP experts can then interrogate the data, asking the powerful knowledge-graph specific questions in natural language,” a BP spokesperson said. “The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations.”
BP said the acquisition is aimed at accelerating project life cycles, from exploration through to reservoir modeling. The technology is targeting a 90 percent time reduction in data collection, interpretation, and simulation.
“This AI-based platform, which we’ve nicknamed Sandy, is expected to unlock critical data for our subsurface engineers at a much-accelerated pace,” said David Eyton, BP’s group head of technology, in a statement. “Our experts will ask it questions about our reservoirs like, ‘What factors control production in the Chirag field?’ Sandy will then interpret our data, including mapping out many more scenarios than are currently constructed, helping us make faster, better informed Upstream decisions.”
It appears AI is a growing interest for big oil companies, as Investors Business Daily reported last year.
“The reason interest is surging now is because artificial intelligence is ‘actually doable,'” Babur Ozden, co-founder and CEO of AI startup Maana, told IBD. Ozden credited cloud computing for making AI more accessible and affordable.