HPC critical for energy exploration

HPC critical for energy exploration

on Aug 29, 14 • by Chris Bubinas • with No Comments

Energy companies now rely heavily on HPC technology...

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The process of finding and producing oil and gas has become exponentially more difficult over the past few decades. Even in resource-rich areas, the most accessible oil and gas has by now largely been extracted and refined. Energy companies need to look deeper and become more precise in order to remain operational.

To succeed in this regard, these organizations now rely heavily on high performance computing solutions, as BizTech Magazine recently highlighted.

Hunting for energy
Halliburton estimates that more than 70 percent of current oil and gas production relies on mature fields, the majority of which have entered the second or third phase of production, the news source reported. In these areas, advanced raw survey data reanalysis and in-depth scenario analysis are essential, as companies must gain a clear view of the underlying structures and dynamics of these fields in order to remain operational and safe.

HPC is critical in this capacity. By leveraging HPC in conjunction with complex, proprietary algorithms and code, energy companies can produce high-quality imaging of subsurfaces. This allows the firms to identify and then extract resources from otherwise inaccessible areas.

A growing challenge
The news source that the need for ever-improving data analysis and imaging is driving energy companies to embrace the most advanced HPC tools available. If these organizations cannot process data quickly enough, they cannot gain the edge they need to remain productive in maturing oil and gas fields.

As BizTech Magazine explained, oil and gas companies are more reliant on gathering and processing large amounts of data than most other sectors. A single company can possess hundreds of petabytes of data in its portfolio, and a single large exploration project may produce numerous petabytes of information. The better a company can excel in its ability to collect and utilize data, the more likely it will find oil on any given drilling effort.

This has naturally spurred on companies, leading them to implement and develop advanced strategies and tools relating to the HPC field. For example, companies now deploy large numbers of advanced sensors designed for use in underground geology.

Similarly, oil and gas companies now allocate a greater portion of their total HPC budgets for data analysis and storage. The source noted that according to a recent IDC survey, these organizations now dedicate 12 percent of their HPC spending to big data analytics efforts.

An advancing market
Of course, it is not just energy companies that now rely heavily on HPC tools. The HPC market as a whole is growing as more organizations turn to these resources to improve their operations in a wide variety of areas.

Highlighting this trend, a recent MarketsandMarkets report found that the global market for HPC tools will reach $33.4 billion by 2018, up from just $24.3 billion last year – a 6.6 percent compound annual growth rate for this period. The study found that this growth is largely attributable to the simple fact that HPC tools are becoming more sophisticated and, as a result, more useful for countless firms.

"HPC has resolved the grand scientific challenges and enabled the enterprise to make sound business decisions. This has resulted in emergence of a new breed of dedicated HPC vendors, providing robust and scalable HPC clusters which can store, analyze and process data at the shortest possible time," MarketsandMarkets noted.

Critically, these benefits are being enjoyed by organizations of all sizes, rather than being limited solely to large-scale enterprises.

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