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Gazprom Neft and IBM Research Brazil are using AI to improve quality in processing geological information

Research Cooperation Agreement on the use of machine learning systems and artificial intelligence (AI) aims to optimise the analysis and model creation from geological data

More than 30 Gazprom Neft research geologists and IBM Research Brazil machine-learning research scientists have come together for the first time to share their unique knowledge, experience and skills in a research project, “Cognitive Geologist”*. The Cooperation Agreement signed by both companies aims at the development of state-of-the-art broad AI technologies, such as, knowledge-enhanced Machine Learning which combines deep-neural networks as surrogate of existing geological models and advanced probabilistic reasoning techniques for modelling and supporting data-driven geological decision making. In so doing, they aim to optimise analytical processes and characterize the value of information related to the most relevant geological models to advance exploration workflows and automate the model creation for exploration. These technologies will help automate routine operations and significantly augment the geological and geophysical data analyses for use in oil exploration or production activities other than deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects.

The system aims at identifying, modelling, integrating, and predicting critical prospective geological object information in support of decision-making, using data from already discovered analogues and Big Data technologies for processing extensive data arrays. Thanks to this initiative, the typical geological exploration cycle could be significantly reduced, with processes previously taking up to half a year now completed within a month. In addition, forecasting quality would be further improved with each new project, through the use of cognitive technologies and continuous-learning models.

Mars Khasanov, Head of Technology Directorate, CEO, Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre: “As part of Gazprom Neft’s Technology Strategy, we are paying particular attention to developing digital projects in exploration and production. Together with leading international companies we are developing the oil production tools of the future.”
Mars Khasanov
Mars Khasanov Head of Technology Directorate, CEO, Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre
Alexei Vashkevich, Director for Geological Exploration and Resource Base Development, Gazprom Neft: “Data volumes are becoming ever larger, and reserves ever more challenging — which is why we have to improve processes in extracting, sourcing and analysing information, and find new opportunities for using machine learning methodologies. To that end we are developing a unique digital solution that could lead to a breakthrough in working with geological information.”
Alexei Vashkevich
Alexei Vashkevich Director for Geological Exploration and Resource Base Development, Gazprom Neft
Ulisses Mello, Director, IBM Research Brazil: “At the IBM Research Natural Resources practice, it is our mission to collaborate with leading Oil and Gas partners to ensure that the industry benefits from the application of the most advanced AI technologies by maximizing its ability to deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by the ever growing amounts of data generated in the exploration and production activities.”
Ulisses Mello Director, IBM Research Brazil
Notes for editors

* The “Cognitive Geologist” initiative is a digital project by the Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre, focused on optimising the processing of geophysical information and geological data. The project involves integrating various kinds of data, obtained at every stage of exploration cycle (including seismic processing and analysis, well logging, core measurements, aerial photography, etc.), into a single system. The creation of digital metamodels combining all information on an exploration target results in shorter lead-times (reduced from three years to six to 12 months) and improves the quality of geological prospecting operations.

This cooperation agreement between Gazprom Neft and IBM Research Brazil complements the amendment to the existing Memorandum on Strategic Cooperation in digital technologies between Gazprom Neft and IBM East Europe, which was signed at the 2018 St Petersburg International Economic Forum. The purpose of the agreement is to further consolidate plans for long-term cooperation between the two companies, as well as extending the successful experience of previous agreements, signed at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum between 2015 and 2017.