Upstream Technology

Technologies including seismic imaging, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and digital systems help BP find more oil and gas, increase recovery and reserves, and improve production efficiency.
Seismic imaging allows BP to explore deep into the Earth’s subsurface, and the company’s ISS (Independent Simultaneous Sources) technology makes large-scale, 3-D seismic surveys faster and more cost-effective.
In 2015, for example, BP’s ISS survey at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska delivered a tenfold increase in productivity, enabling the company to acquire higher-quality images in just one winter season. BP processes this type of geophysical data — collected from seismic surveys around the globe — at its Center for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) in Houston, which is home to one of the world’s largest supercomputers for commercial research. Digital technologies, meanwhile, help BP enhance both safety and efficiency. Among its many initiatives, the company has formed a strategic collaboration with GE to develop and pilot a new digital solution for unplanned downtime in its Gulf of Mexico operations. The software will introduce new process surveillance and predictive analytic tools to provide early warnings of potential facility issues, which will give crews time to intervene proactively. 

BP also remains a global leader on EOR technologies, which help the company extract additional oil from existing reservoirs. Indeed, its Designer Water and Designer Gas technologies deliver over 10 percent of the world’s conventional EOR oil production — more than any other international oil company. These technologies include Bright Water and LoSal EOR. Bright Water is a microscopic, thermally activated particle that expands deep in a reservoir, diverting injection water into poorly swept areas and, thereby, increasing oil recovery. On average, it costs less than $5 per barrel. LoSal is a low-salinity water flooding technology that increases oil recovery compared with conventional seawater flooding. BP is already deploying LoSal in the North Sea, and the company is evaluating its use in a Gulf of Mexico project.