Upstream technology

Technology underpins all that we do in the Upstream. Our strengths in exploration, deepwater, giant fields and gas value chains are supported by technology leadership positions in seismic imaging, enhanced oil recovery, unconventionals and digital technologies

Sorry, you need Javascript enabled to view this video.

Loading video

please wait...

Seismic imaging

Seismic imaging is a powerful lens into the subsurface. We use it to map the subsurface to find hydrocarbons when exploring, to appraise and characterize reservoirs, and to detect changes in these reservoirs over time as oil and gas are produced.

That is why we have invested in developing technologies such as ISS® and WOLFSPAR® and capabilities such as our centre for high performance computing in Houston, and is why we are recognized as the industry leader in seismic imaging.

Enhanced oil recovery

The average recovery factor of an oilfield across the industry is just 35% – in other words, we typically leave more oil in the ground than we remove.

Enhanced oil recovery is a set of technologies that aim to increase the recovery factor by improving reservoir sweep and displacing more oil from rock at the pore-scale.

We have a solid track record of deploying DESIGNER GAS®  EOR technologies, such as miscible gas and vaporisation, and DESIGNER WATER® technologies such as BRIGHTWATER® and LOSAL® across our fields worldwide.

Wells and facilities

In wells and facilities, we aim to be competitive in several ways: by partnering with industry experts or following a first-mover with early implementation or by deploying a technology rapidly across our portfolio.

Technologies like these help us to deliver improved levels of safety, reliability and efficiency across our operations, as well as to find and recover more hydrocarbons to meet the world’s energy needs.


We are building a leadership position in unconventional gas developments, leveraging our strong position in the US Lower 48 and in our growing global portfolio – for example, in Oman and China.

Technology has been behind the breakthrough in the development of unconventional gas fields, and it continues to play a key role in making large-scale developments economically viable.

Digital – the Connected Upstream®

Sorry, you need Javascript enabled to view this video.

Loading video

please wait...

For the past 20 years or so, we have been capitalising on waves of digital technology; each successive one advancing and extending its scope across the upstream, with increasing effect

Today, our vision is to be the leading digital upstream business.

We are building the Connected Upstream® to deliver this vision, combining our deep know-how with cloud computing, complex algorithms and data visualisation to create exponential value – digitally connecting our people, plant and data to drive better business outcomes.

Our operating facilities and monitoring centres are linked through thousands of kilometres of fibre cable, sending billons of records into our data lake each day. Our proprietary search tool, SmartSearch, has crawled over a billion subsurface and wells documents in 2017 alone.

We are also building applications which integrate and interrogate data from our reservoirs, wells and facilities, helping us to optimize production from our wells.

We are also using machine learning and automation to enable and embed data-driven business decisions, such as automating manual processes, automating weight on bit and rotation speed in hard rock drilling, and learning from historical pattern-matching to optimize well planning.

Read more

Read more

Registered trademarks

BRIGHTWATER® – chemicals used in oil & gas well stimulation (Nalco Company)
DESIGNER GAS® – chemicals & equipment for use in oil wells; oil and gas field services (BP p.l.c.)
DESIGNER WATER® – chemicals & equipment for use in oil wells; oil and gas field services (BP p.l.c.)

ISS® – seismic acquisition equipment & services; oil field exploration services (BP p.l.c.)
LOSAL® – fluids for use in drilling oil & gas wells; oil extraction services (BP p.l.c.)
WOLFSPAR® – seismic acquisition equipment & services; oil field exploration services BP (p.l.c.)

Related content