21 Sep 2011 Barcelona - Spanish oil major Repsol-YPF and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center have launched their new joint research centre aimed at speeding the analysis of seismic data. The Repsol-BSC Research Center, the fruit of four years' collaboration in the field of seismic imaging applied to exploring for hydrocarbons, will be staffed by 11 research scientists and will be located at BSC's facilities in Barcelona.
The inauguration of the centre was presided by Science and Innovation Minister Cristina Garmendia, Repsol Chairman and CEO Antoni Brufau, and the economy and research adviser of the Catalan regional government, Andreu Mas-Colell.
The project was conceived in 2007 as an application of the latest generation of technology to discover new gas and oil deposits while respecting the environment.
To process huge amounts of data while generating and interpreting subsoil images using seismic and electromagnetic methods, BSC is calling on the MareNostrum supercomputer, one of Europe's most powerful.
The technology that BSC has developed up to now allows Repsol to process data up to 15 times faster than other companies in the sector and has boosted the reliability of seismic images.
With this project Repsol takes the lead in exploring complex subsoil areas with large reserves of hydrocarbons like the Gulf of Mexico and the deep ocean waters of Brazil.
The new Repsol-BSC Research Center will make it possible to tackle multiple research projects to develop advanced technology applicable to hydrocarbon exploration and other areas of interest for Repsol.
Further work will continue on the Kaleidoscope project that enables Repsol to process seismic images 15 times more quickly than competitors, and which is one of the five most innovative projects in the energy industry worldwide.
Repsol and the BSC have been working together on different R&D projects since 2007. The new centre will enable them to tackle new projects in areas such as deposit modelling and subsoil fluids monitoring.
Antonio Brufau stated: "Companies like Repsol that have made a commitment to deep water by making intensive use of technology, have changed our strategic positioning, achieving significant exploratory success in complex areas with large hydrocarbon deposits."
The Spanish Minister of Science and Innovation Cristina Garmendia, the Catalonian Regional Minister of Economy and Knowledge Andreu Mas-Colell, BSC executives, and Repsol Chairman and CEO Antonio Brufau today jointly presided over the opening of the RepsolBSC Research Center. The opening was presented by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) Assistant Director Francesc Subirada and Repsol Geophysics Director Francisco Ortigosa.
The Repsol-BSC Research Center has been created in order to enhance and strengthen co-operation between Repsol and the BSC. The two entities have been working together since 2007 on R&D projects in seismic imaging applied to hydrocarbon exploration. The new centre makes it possible to continue with the projects that are already underway and to tackle new ones in areas such as deposit modelling and subsoil fluids monitoring, which are of interest to Repsol.
In his speech, Antonio Brufau pointed out that opening this new research centre "consolidates the fruitful relationship established with the BSC to undertake the Kaleidoscope project". He emphasised Repsol's commitment to innovation and technology, which has made Repsol "a benchmark in deep-water exploration".
Meanwhile, Frances Subirada emphasised that "the creation of this joint centre is another example of the necessary change in the production model that we must undertake and that must be based, among other considerations, on co-operation between the public and private sectors to improve our competitiveness and generate wealth."
The new centre, which currently has 11 researchers, is another example of Repsol's commitment to technological research, highlighting the benefits that BSC brings in cutting-edge technology for Spanish industry. The first projects to be undertaken will be the continuation of the Kaleidoscope project, where the focus will be on the generation and interpretation of subsoil images by seismic and electromagnetic methods.
The Kaleidoscope Project was created in 2007 to unite cutting-edge science and technology with the discovery of new oil and gas deposits while respecting the environment. It uses a new generation of processors that are capable of processing complex mathematical algorithms that have been tested in advance in the MareNostrum supercomputer.
The technology developed enables Repsol to process information 15 times faster than its competitors and improves the reliability of the seismic images obtained, increasing the chance of finding oil and gas thousands of metres below the earth. With the Kaleidoscope project, Repsol has positioned itself at the forefront of exploration in complex, high-reserve subsoil areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico or the deep water areas of Brazil, which are home to an estimated 100 billion barrels of oil.
Kaleidoscope has been named one of the five most innovative projects in the world by the American Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a prestigious body known for following new technology. It has also won the acclaim of Computer World and Petroleum Economist, and it won the 2009 Platts award for Best Commercial Technology of the Year.
BSC, founded as a consortium of the Science Ministry, the Catalan regional government and the Catalonia Polytechnic University, currently employs more than 300 researchers from 27 countries.