Home R&D BP invests $5 mln in Houston AI start-up

BP invests $5 mln in Houston AI start-up

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BP Ventures has invested $5 million in Belmont Technology’s Series A financing to further bolster BP’s artificial intelligence (AI) and digital capabilities in its upstream business.

The investment supports BP’s ongoing work exploring opportunities to apply machine learning and cognitive computing in its global oil and gas business.

The Houston technology start-up has developed a cloud-based geoscience platform using AI. The platform has a string of unique capabilities including specially-designed ‘knowledge-graphs’. BP experts feed the platform geology, geophysics, reservoir and historic project information. It intuitively links that information together, identifying new connections and workflows, and creating a robust knowledge-graph of BP’s subsurface assets. Much like data searches available in the consumer domain, BP experts can then interrogate the data, asking the powerful knowledge-graph specific questions in natural language. The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations.

Aimed at accelerating project lifecycles, from exploration through to reservoir modelling, the technology is targeting a 90% time reduction in data collection, interpretation and simulation.

“This AI-based platform, which we’ve nicknamed Sandy, is expected to unlock critical data for our subsurface engineers at a much accelerated pace,” David Eyton, BP’s group head of technology, said. “Sandy will then interpret our data, including mapping out many more scenarios than are currently constructed, helping us make faster, better informed upstream decisions.”

BP’s investment will enable Belmont Technology to expand its workforce, extend Sandy’s capabilities and accelerate the deployment of its product.

This investment follows BP’s previous deals in cognitive computing, including $20 million in Series B funding in AI company Beyond Limits. That investment is helping deploy AI technology previously used in deep space exploration missions in offshore exploration, accelerating operational insight and process automation across operations. Belmont’s scalable knowledge-graphs can be interrogated by Beyond Limits’ technology for new insights.

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