Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing gas exploration

Digital technologies and advanced data processing methods are now used successfully in many sectors, particularly in energy. One of the examples of their use is work related to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons. Adhering to them requires a detailed and time-consuming analysis of a large number of factors and variables. The efficiency of the investment, its profitability and even its carbon footprint depend on the deposit management scenario developed on this basis.

Smart Field – a project created by Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo – takes the exploitation of natural gas and crude oil to a new level. It is the result of the contribution of the knowledge and long experience of the Company’s specialists as well as ambitious objectives related to energy transformation and the development of its activities abroad.

The tool allows a very precise and complete overview of the production system – from reservoir to transmission system. Using advanced solutions including artificial intelligence, machine learning or cloud computing create different variations of the drilling job. The information thus provided makes it possible to select the optimal production scenario – assuming the maximum increase in the amount of hydrocarbons obtained, while maintaining the profitability of the project. In this case, the benefit of the investment is linked to the reduction of the environmental impact. Increased productivity and shorter working time as well as better exhaustion of deposits result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The project developed in 2021 is a further step in the Company’s efforts to optimize one of the key areas of its business activities. PGNiG initiated the process of digitizing hydrocarbon exploration and production in 2019 by launching the Digital Field. It is a platform that integrates the work of specialists from various fields related to the extraction of natural gas and crude oil on a model. Smart Field develops this concept by combining solutions used so far by PGNiG with technologies provided by partners.

Based on the forecast of hydrocarbon production parameters and the introduced target and variable functions, the program adjusts to specific assumptions and technical requirements, providing data to assess the effectiveness of assumed extraction strategies . A very important element allowing the implementation of the whole process is access to cloud computing. Data included in the form of satellite images, they require huge disk space, up to 5 PB (pet bytes), which corresponds to the memory of about 150,000. 32 GB mobile phones. Thanks to cooperation with the Operator National Cloud, the work carried out under the Smart Field project is supported by unlimited resources and computing power.

Versatility and mobility

The advantage of the tool used by PGNiG is its versatility and mobility. The scheme of activities, adopted and successfully implemented in one deposit, can be transferred to another in a very short time. Moreover, the location of all the features in the cloud makes it possible to use them not only in the country, but also in remote places – from Northern Europe to the Middle East.

The project has already made its first implementations in real natural gas and crude oil fields. Thanks to Smart Field, the extraction of the Barnówko-Mostno-Buszewo field has been increased by several billion cubic meters of gas and several million cubic meters of crude oil over the next 20 years. In light of the current geopolitical situation and the priority of national energy security for the Polish oil and gas industry, the Smart Field project is not only a digital revolution. It is also an important element in the process of independence from the supply of raw materials from the East.

The text was published in the latest issue of Gazeta Bankowa.

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