IBM to Help Oil and Gas Companies Reduce Environmental Impact

IBM was selected for a global research project to develop the world’s first integrated environmental monitoring system aimed at helping oil and gas companies minimize the environmental impact of their operations.

IBM is teaming with Statoil, Kongsberg Group and DNV to develop an environmental monitoring system for oil and gas activities. This is an image of subsea operations at Statoil’s Vega Field. (Photo: Statoil)

IBM researchers, developers and a team from IBM’s Centre of Excellence for Oil and Gas in Stavanger, Norway, are collaborating with experts from Statoil, Kongsberg Group and Det Norske Veritas (DNV) on developing a solution that will use industry frameworks combined with advanced streaming analytics technology to enable real-time monitoring of environmental data, and early detection of and response to operational events surrounding offshore installations.

 The monitoring system will apply advanced streaming analytics technology developed by IBM Research to rapidly measure, process and analyze vast amounts of live physical, biological and chemical data generated by sensors and cameras attached around an offshore installation, making it easier to predict and detect deviations.

Combined with IBM’s advanced modeling techniques, the system will be able to move beyond simply monitoring, to predict and prevent issues before they occur, helping companies minimize the environmental risk associated with subsea oil and gas operations. IBM will also provide the information integration technology that allows for enterprise-wide visibility and real-time monitoring and analysis of offshore operational systems.

Oil and gas companies currently employ different environmental monitoring methods, but there are no solutions available today that are integrated and enable physical, biological and chemical data to be measured during actual operations.  By transforming environmental monitoring from being a separate task into becoming an integrated part of day-to-day operations across the lifetime of an oil field, the system will make it possible for oil and gas companies to predict and more rapidly respond to anticipated conditions. These include a stop in drilling, shutting down production at an installation, or ceasing construction activity during environmentally sensitive periods.

“Environmental monitoring, as part of real-time integrated operations, is central to the oil and gas industry,” said John Brantley, general manager for IBM Global Chemicals and Petroleum Industries.  “This initiative, which draws on IBM’s research, industry knowledge and experience helping companies manage and gain valuable insight from the explosion of data, will assist oil and gas companies in achieving safer operations and minimizing their environmental impact.”

Statoil commissioned the three-year project as part of the company’s “New Energy and HSE” R&D program, which includes environmental monitoring. Kongsberg will lead the project, as well as provide sensor and acoustic communication technology. DNV will provide marine environmental analytics and risk management methodologies. The solution will be demonstrated at Kongsberg Maritime Subsea on the seabed of the harbour basin in Horten, Norway, before it can be piloted and implemented at Statoil’s offshore operational facilities.

According to Statoil, environmental monitoring is essential for the oil & gas giant in order to achieve its target of zero harmful discharges. This three-year research project will prove whether Statoil succeeds in taking environmental monitoring from being a separate task to become an integrated part of daily production, to achieve even safer operations and reduced costs. This will represent a quantum leap for offshore environmental monitoring.

Source: CSR Africa.Net – 3 Feb 2012