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AI Case Study

BP reduces methane emissions by 74% and increases production volume by 20% by optimising oilfield well valve functions with AI modelling

BP is trialling a modelling system which uses current and historic oilfield data to build a simulation and test the effects opening and closing valves at different production sites on gas emissions, which has resulted in decreased methane coming from the vents by 74%, increased production volume of 20% and overall costs decrease of 22%.



Oil And Gas

Project Overview

Working with vendor Kelvin Inc., BP has "outfitted hundreds of Wamsutter wells with arrays of cheap sensors that gather and transmit oceans of data into supercomputers where A.I.-driven algorithms crunch endless optimization simulations. Sensors like accelerometers and 'hyperspectral' methane-detecting cameras can feed data (via cellular network) about every aspect of the field into Kelvin's AI network. They’ve also incorporated decades of maintenance records and even weather data. Paired with lidar scans of the field, BP has built a 'digital twin' of the field, pinpointing where every bit of kit is located. A production pad gathers the oil and gas volumes from numerous wells. There’s dozens of pads in a field. In a field like Wamsutter, what happens at one pad often impacts others. So to figure out how best to have all these pads and wells working together, Kelvin’s algorithms seek to solve a 'pad optimization model.'”

Reported Results

“ 'In six months we went from concept to proven. It works on every type of well—plunger, rod pump, all of them.' BP claims:

* methane vented from affected wells is down by 74%
* production volumes are up 20%
* overall cost decrease of 22."


"Kelvin’s software runs endless simulations and regressions, the better to prioritize preventative maintenance. The system learns in part by tinkering—opening and closing valves and watching to see what happens to the pressures and flow rates, not just in that well or that pad, but also cross-referencing the effect that a tweak on one side of the field might have on well pressures miles away."



Field Services


"BP’s global operations emit the equivalent of 50.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. That’s down from 54.1 million four years ago. By 2025 the aim is for 3.5 million tons more of 'permanent, quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions.' One of the best spots to reduce emissions is right in BP's oil and gas fields. BP figures that half of its fugitive methane emissions—a fancy way of saying natural gas leaking out of pumps and pipes—come from its operations in the Lower 48. And a good portion of those happen in mature fields like the one near Wamsutter, in the Great Divide Basin of Wyoming. BP has drilled thousands of wells there in the past two decades and plans thousands more. Keeping all those wells operating cleanly in the windy high desert is a challenge. Even after years of continuous improvements in automation and preventative maintenance, parts still break and wells regularly get 'loaded up'—where too much naturally occurring water builds up in the pipe such that the gas can no longer bubble out and the well stops flowing. The process of de-watering a well invariably releases a burp of backed-up methane—a fugitive emission."



maintenance records, weather data, hyperspectral image data, accelerometer data, lidar scans

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