Digital Technology Takes Spotlight At BHGE’s UNIFY 2018

HOUSTON—Amid all the digital technology talk about what the oil and gas industry should do and stop doing, the abundance of data but lack of use, and cultural change still needed to move the industry forward, Arun Subramaniyan showed how technology can be used to optimize well performance.

Speaking to attendees of Baker Hughes, a GE company’s (NYSE: BHGE) UNIFY 2018 event June 13 in Houston, Subramaniyan—the company’s vice president of data science and analytics—performed a live demonstration showing how a digital twin of a well in a field and artificial intelligence was used to pinpoint a calibration issue, which when solved help to optimize production.

In a matter of five or six minutes, he went through three several scenarios—each of which would have taken three or four engineers a couple of weeks to do.

“Imagine the power of tools like these,” he said, later showing how the technology can be used to run multiwell optimization on a cluster of wells in 20 seconds—1,000 times faster than what’s available on the market today. “It’s not about a specific model or specific optimization that you want to have; it’s about opening the possibilities,” and enabling scalability—demonstrating how the same technology can be put to use for optimization at the field level with 500 wells.

Bringing digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and digital twin models to the oil patch has moved higher on the agendas of energy companies. The search for insight that could lead to operational improvements and other value additions—capitalizing on the abundance of data generated from oilfield equipment sensors and seismic, for starters—has become a priority as the industry plays catch up to other sectors.