BP Ventures has invested $5m in Belmont Technology’s Series-A financing to further strengthen its artificial intelligence (AI) and digital capabilities in its upstream business.
The investment in AI technology is expected to support BP’s ongoing work exploring opportunities to apply machine learning and cognitive computing in its international oil and gas business.
Using the AI, Houston-based technology start-up has developed a cloud-based geoscience platform, which has a string of unique capabilities including specially-designed ‘knowledge-graphs’.
Experts from the BP would feed the platform with geology, geophysics, reservoir and historic project information. By intuitively linking the information together, the geoscience platform is expected to identify new connections and workflows and create a robust knowledge-graph of the company’s subsurface assets.
BP experts would then interrogate the data, asking the powerful knowledge-graph specific questions in natural language more like data searches available in the consumer domain.
The technology uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations. The technology is targeting a 90% time reduction in data collection, interpretation and simulation, aimed at accelerating project lifecycles, from exploration through to reservoir modeling.
BP group technology head David Eyton 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. Our experts will ask it questions about our reservoirs like, ‘What factors control production in the Chirag field?’.
“Sandy will then interpret our data, including mapping out many more scenarios than are currently constructed, helping us make faster, better informed Upstream decisions.This investment helps drive forward our digital strategy and further underpins our upstream operations with cutting edge technology.”
BP’s investment is expected to enable Belmont Technology to expand its workforce, extend AI – Sandy’s capabilities and accelerate the deployment of its product.
This investment follows the company’s previous transactions in cognitive computing, that includes $20m in Series B funding in AI company Beyond Limits.
Belmont Technology CEO Jean-Marie Laigle said: “We are extremely honored 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.”