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BP invests in new artificial intelligence technology

Jan 28, 2019
2 min read
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BP Ventures has invested US$5 million in Belmont Technology’s Series A financing to further bolster BP’s artificial intelligence (AI) and digital capabilities in its upstream business.

BP said that the investment supports ongoing work exploring opportunities to apply machine learning and cognitive computing in its global oil and gas business.

The Houston technology start-up has developed a cloud-based geoscience platform using AI.  The platform has a string of unique capabilities including specially-designed ‘knowledge-graphs’. BP experts feed the platform geology, geophysics, reservoir and historic project information. It intuitively links that information together, identifying new connections and workflows, and creating a robust 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. The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations.

Aimed at accelerating project lifecycles, from exploration through to reservoir modelling, the technology is targeting a 90 per cent time reduction in data collection, interpretation and simulation.

David Eyton, BP’s group head of technology, said: “This AI-based platform, which we’ve nicknamed Sandy, is expected to unlock critical data for our subsurface engineers at a much accelerated pace. This investment helps drive forward our digital strategy and further underpins our upstream operations with cutting edge technology.”

BP’s investment will enable Belmont Technology to expand its workforce, extend Sandy’s capabilities and accelerate the deployment of its product.

Belmont Technology’s CEO, Jean-Marie Laigle, said: “We are extremely honoured to welcome BP as an investor as it is a validation of our approach and technology. We are excited by the prospect of deploying a cutting-edge cognitive AI solution within BP.

“Our technology enables real-time thinking for subsurface engineers, helping transform the way teams work, analyse data, understand situations and generate novel ideas.”

This investment follows BP’s previous deals in cognitive computing, including $20 million in Series B funding in AI company Beyond Limits. That investment is helping deploy AI technology previously used in deep space exploration missions in offshore exploration, accelerating operational insight and process automation across operations.

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