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Summer Science Exhibition 2004

Visualising Middle Earth









The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


The onshore drilling control centre for the Valhall field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

Dr Andrew Leonard, Mr John Foot, Mr Dave Whitcombe, Mr Marcus Marsh, Mr Tim Jackson, Mr Graeme Verra, Mr Jeff Dickens, Mr Roger Murray, Ms Linda Ames and Mr Mike Saunders.
BP Exploration.

Consider this: more oil is being extracted than was ever thought possible, yet the average new oil field is growing smaller. How? Through the latest digital technology, which is spearheading a revolution in oil and gas exploitation.

Technologies like 4D seismic, advanced visualisation, remote access to real-time drilling, production and process data, and advanced recovery techniques are improving yields from new wells and getting the most from existing ones. BP calls this the Field of the Future (TM).

Visualisation software with unprecedented speed and processing power is allowing geoscientists and geologists to manipulate different types of seismic data. As well as unique abilities to display information, the technology also allows users to move through huge volumes of data and review them from different perspectives.

Using 4D seismic - the added dimension is time - engineers can watch how pressures are changing and fluids moving within the reservoir, and judge their impact over months and years. The result is precision monitoring and up-to-date understanding of how the reservoir and wells are performing, opening up new possibilities to optimise recovery and production.

Using a range of technologies, real-time data feed from wells and other facilities is enabling real-time decision-making and intervention by engineers and technologists, who may be dotted around the world. By bringing data to the expert, rather than the other way round, decisions that took weeks or even months can now be made in only hours. Technology is boosting people's ability to share information and ideas, by transforming millions of pieces of raw data into visual images.

'Data will flow from reservoirs, wells and process plant, onshore or offshore, to the desks of BP's experts anywhere in the world', explains Andy Leonard, manager of the Field of the Future (TM) programme office. 'They will be able to see what is happening in the field as if they were actually there, rapidly analyse the data from their desktop, decide on the next move to keep the operation running smoothly, and optimise production.'

Visualising Middle Earth The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK