The Center for High-Performance Computing, located at BP's US headquarters in Houston, will serve as a worldwide hub for processing and managing huge amounts of geophysical data from across BP's portfolio and be a key tool in helping scientists to "see" more clearly what lies beneath the earth's surface.
Ever-more precise images of the subsurface - made possible by greater computing power, speed and storage capacity - will enhance BP's ability to find new energy resources, by reducing the time needed to analyse massive quantities of seismic data and enabling more detailed in-house modelling of rock formations before drilling begins. Such advances will help BP build on its historic strength in oil and natural gas exploration.
Better imaging capability will also help the company more safely and efficiently appraise new finds and manage complex reservoirs once production starts. In addition, the centre opens up new possibilities for research into other important aspects of BP's business activities, from oil refining to enhanced oil recovery. For example, it will help facilitate BP's industry-leading development of "digital rocks", a proprietary technology for calculating petrophysical rock properties and modelling fluid flow directly from high-resolution 3D images - at a scale equivalent to 1/50th of the thickness of a human hair.
"BP's investment in this new supercomputing centre not only highlights the increasingly high-tech nature of today's global oil and gas industry, it underscores our company's long-held belief in the vital role technology plays - and will continue to play - in solving the world's biggest energy challenges", stated Jackie Mutschler, BP's Head of Upstream Technology.
BP's new Center for High-Performance Computing is housed in a three-story, 110,000 square foot building at BP's Westlake campus. Built to withstand the strong Gulf Coast weather events, reduce energy consumption and accommodate future growth, the building replaces BP's previous supercomputing complex, which had been located within an office tower at the campus.
The previous supercomputing facility was the world's first commercial research centre to achieve a petaflop of processing speed - or one thousand trillion calculations per second. But it had reached maximum power and cooling capacity, limiting options for growth.
BP worked with HP and Intel to grow its computing power to over 2.2 petaflops, almost doubling its capability this year.
BP's new supercomputer will also boast total memory of 1000 terabytes and disk space of 23.5 petabytes - the equivalent of over 40,000 average laptop computers.