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                                   31 May 2019                                                                    

SOCAR and IBM create an AI-enabled well planning tool


Advanced technologies like AI (Artificial intelligence) are being applied to the demanding aspect of drilling engineering to maximize oil and gas reservoir production.

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced through the SOCAR-IBM joint venture, The Caspian Innovation Centre LLC (CIC), a jointly created AI-enabled well planning prototype. The advanced well planning tool applies engineering principles, well planning methodologies and practices to large, complex data sets to quickly and efficiently enable engineers to create multiple conceptual well designs including cost evaluations, scheduling, KPI planning and measurement and risk profiling. The new tool, named Aliya, can perform complex analytical operations within seconds based on data received from previously drilled wells. A similar procedure if conducted solely by a human would take more than a month to complete. The technology is unique in that it applies AI-based analytics at the well planning stage.

The application of advanced technologies such as AI in the oil and gas industry, part of which was initially applied by Woodside, which established the principles for developing the CIC well planning prototype, enables the application of multiple AI engines to enhance well planning risk profiling scenarios.

Yashar Latifov, Vice President for field development at SOCAR said, “I would like to thank the SOCAR drilling department and the IBM technology and data science experts, who took the initiative and time to create the AI-enabled well planning prototype. In November of 2018 when we first sanctioned this initiative, I was very confident that the collaboration would produce something tangible we could present at the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) Drilling Caspian 2019 Conference in February in Baku. I was left literally stunned, when just two months later in January, the team brought Aliya”.

Mr. Latifov further stated, “this represents a small step that triggers a giant opportunity to radically improve well planning and managing data in the industry. It is heartening to realize that over 170 years after the first onshore well drilled in the outskirts of Baku, and 70 years after the first ever offshore well at the legendary Oil Rocks offshore field, SOCAR as a national oil company with its rich heritage in the world, in collaboration with one of the world’s leading advanced technology companies like IBM, is instrumental in creating cutting-edge new technology within the industry.”

SOCAR’s Vice President for HR, IT and Regulations Khalik Mammadov said, “We jointly, with IBM have a very exciting time ahead of us. Our cooperation will be invaluable in serving SOCAR’s mission as a national oil and gas producer company to enhance its value. Aliya represents the first step towards a full-scale digitalization of our operations. Together with CIC we’re simultaneously developing a number of projects in the digitalization of our upstream, midstream and downstream operations. Industry 4.0 has become a vital goal in our corporate strategy, since modern computing and data technologies, such as artificial intelligence, could make the difference between past and future success for major companies like SOCAR.”

SOCAR and IBM are planning to jointly launch an “Innovation Garage” to extend AI technology across subsurface, wells, upstream operation, PSCM and other applicable areas in line with SOCAR’s upstream digitalization strategy.

IBM through their AI-enabled, data-driven cloud industry platform, is very pleased with the initial AI-enabled well planning prototype and look forward to the collaborative efforts ahead with SOCAR through the CIC and advancing the applications of AI across the oil and gas value chain.

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About IBM: IBM lives at the intersection of industry and technology. Through their AI-enabled, data-driven intelligence platform for the natural resources industry, they are enabling clients’ to implement business models to better manage geological risk, predict drilling targets, boost worker safety, improve asset optimization and accelerate operational effectiveness.