BP takes leap forward in seismic imaging technology

Date: 27 April 2017

Using new technique, BP finds significant additional resources in the Gulf of Mexico

HOUSTON - BP today announced a major breakthrough in seismic imaging that has identified more than 200 million barrels of additional resources at BP’s Atlantis field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. As a result of this early success, BP now is deploying this technique to fields elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico as well as in Azerbaijan, Angola, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The innovation has enabled BP to enhance the clarity of images that it collects during seismic surveys, particularly areas below the earth’s surface that complex salt structures previously obscured or distorted. The sharper seismic images mean that BP can drill new development wells in deepwater reservoirs with higher confidence and accuracy.

“This technological breakthrough has essentially allowed our team to find a new oil field within our existing Atlantis field,” said Bernard Looney, chief executive of BP’s global upstream business. “Given the overwhelming success of this project, we are now deploying this technology across BP’s global operations.”

Proprietary algorithms developed by BP’s Subsurface Technical Center were applied on seismic data run at BP’s Center for High Performance Computing, one of the largest supercomputers in the world dedicated to commercial research. The algorithms allowed data that would normally take a year to be analyzed to be processed in only a few weeks, accelerating BP’s development decisions for the field.

The algorithms enhance a technique known as Full Waveform Inversion (FWI), which matches seismic simulations with existing seismic data to produce high quality subsurface images.

“This innovation again shows that BP remains at the forefront of advanced seismic imaging and digital technologies,” said Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s head of upstream technology. “The new technique has produced the best images of this reservoir that we have ever seen.”

About BP

Over the past 10 years, BP has invested $90 billion in the U.S. – more than any other energy company. BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 14,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 130,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.

Notes to editors

  • BP’s leadership in seismic acquisition and imaging is a result of sustained investment in technology and high performance computing.
  • BP’s Center for High Performance Computing is located in Houston and opened in 2013. It enables BP to do complex modeling of the geological formations below the surface, develop advanced algorithms to improve the understanding of hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs, and to advance new acquisition technologies and survey designs that help see the subsurface more clearly.
  • BP invented and was the first company to deploy wide-azimuth towed-streamer (WATS) technology to better illuminate and image below complex structures like salt.
  • Established in 2016 BP’s Subsurface Technical Center specializes in advanced seismic imaging and enhanced oil recovery.
  • Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) uses advanced algorithms to iteratively refine models of the subsurface by generating seismic wave simulations and adjusting the values of subsurface properties based on the quality of the match between the simulated and recorded data.
  • The subsurface property models that are created by FWI are used to create high quality and high resolution images of oil and gas reservoirs.
  • BP is the largest investor in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico over the past 10 years.

Further information

BP Press Office, Houston, Jason Ryan +1 713 323 4242, uspress@bp.com

Cautionary statement

In order to utilize the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the ‘PSLRA’), BP is providing the following cautionary statement. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Actual results may differ from those expressed in such statements.

This press release contains references to non-proved resources and production outlooks based on non-proved resources that the SEC's rules prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosures in our Form 20-F, SEC File No. 001-06262. This form is available on our website at www.bp.com. You can also obtain this form from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330 or by logging on to their website at www.sec.gov.

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