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DIGEX - The NCS’ Netflix moment

Commentary by Dan Austin, Global Business Development Manager at Earth Science Analytics
22 April 2022

This April marked Digex’s triumphant return to an in-person event with 100’s of delegates from across the energy industry gathering to discuss and demonstrate the latest advances in digital subsurface technologies.

One theme was clear this year- we are already knee deep in the digital transformation and creating huge value from our data right now. For the first time in 3 years we saw few talks on POC’s or small projects and instead operators lifted the lid on large scale, ambitious projects such as predicting prospects with ML, building document search systems and handling legacy data in smarter ways.

Equinor treated us all to a live demo of their Rock n Log tool which brought augmented reality to your cores- combining Ipads with slabbed cores to great effect and showing just how easy it is to bridge the gap between digital brains and physical grains.

The centrepiece of this year’s conference was the released wells initiative in Norway, where over half a million images of rock cuttings have been captured and prepared for machine learning analysis by our partners Rockwash Geodata Ltd.Thanks to their expertise combined with our state of the art tools we were able to demonstrate how to unlock crucial information from these samples that could provide deep insight into the prospectivity of injected sandstones.

On a grander scale we revealed how machine learning can give a taste of what you are missing exploration wise and demonstrated just how easy it can be to teach the machine to sniff out prospects- ending with a bold claim that we are less than a year away from drilling prospects predicted by the machine!

Some excellent examples could be seen in TGS’ presentation on the Utsira high OBN where state of the art machine learning was combined with high fidelity seismic and well data to predict rock and fluid properties over a huge area in unprecedented detail.

Perhaps the most welcome surprise was the session on the energy transition which brought together wind, geothermal, ccs and more, and while each domain has its own challenges, they are all embracing modern methods for data analysis and site de-risking.

We were lucky enough to have a peek into the subsurface work carried out around the barents blue project and see how petroleum data can find a new life in helping to identify carbon storage sites.

I could go on at length about all the technical sessions, talks and demonstrations but instead I will simply say: The revolution has been digitised and we are no longer looking at a distant future, the NCS today possess the tools and knowledge to be leaner, greener and lead the world in creating value from digital and physical assets.

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