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BP, GE's 'Intelligent' Offshore System Designed to Boost IQ of Oil, Gas Operations

BP plc and General Electric on Tuesday launched a collaborative digital solution system designed to improve the supermajor's oil and natural gas production operations worldwide, beginning with a pilot at an operating hub in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

The "intelligent" offshore management system, Plant Operations Advisor (POA), was unveiled at GE's Minds+Machines event in San Francisco. The POA is designed to improve efficiencies, reliability and safety of production operations.

"BP gravitates toward new technologies, especially digital, and that makes working with them particularly exciting," said GE Oil & Gas President Lorenzo Simonelli. "We are taking a big step forward together during this time of digital transformation, deploying what we've co-created over the past year to drive the kind of productivity improvements that the oil and gas industry needs."

Last year the companies launched a production optimization system using GE's Intelligent Platforms Software that eventually is to connect 4,000 BP wells around the world. BP field engineers are to have real-time access to common machine and operational data sets across all wells to improve efficiency, prevent failures and minimize downtime.

A POA pilot has been deployed at BP's Atlantis platform, one of its four operated hubs in the U.S. offshore. Atlantis, 150 miles south of New Orleans, is BP's deepest moored floating platform in the U.S. offshore at 7,074 feet, able to produce up to 200,000 b/d of oil and 180 MMcf/d of natural gas. BHP Billiton has a 44% stake.

The POA was built using GE's Predix operating system and created as part of a development partnership that GE and BP announced in January. Predix software collects data from industrial machines, supported by growing industrial internet of things with cloud servers. The POA digital solution is designed to prevent unplanned downtime and improve facility reliability by helping engineering teams respond quickly to issues as they occur in real-time.

Using GE’s Predix and asset performance management (APM) capabilities, POA integrates operational data from producing oil and gas facilities to deliver notifications and analytical reports to engineers to enable them to identify operational performance issues before they become significant. The system provides access to a variety of live data feeds and includes visualization capabilities, including a real-time facility threat display. It also incorporates a case management capability to support learnings from prior operational issues.

Depending on results from the pilot at Atlantis, the POA could be deployed next year at other BP facilities around the world. The global deployment would be the largest-scale use of Predix-powered APM technology to date.

"By bringing together some of the best minds at GE and BP, we were able to develop this innovative digital product and are confident that it will have a significant impact on our business," said BP's Ahmed Hashmi, head of upstream technology. "When fully deployed, these advanced digital technologies will change the way we work and improve the integrity and performance of our assets around the globe."

GE intends to offer the technology, which combines big data, cloud hosting and analytics on both individual pieces of equipment as well as the entire production system, as an APM solution to the entire oil and gas industry.

GE last month agreed to become majority shareholder in Baker Hughes Inc., a partnership combining their oil and natural gas businesses that would create the second largest oilfield operator in the world. If it passes regulatory muster, the "new" Baker Hughes is expected to become a digital, industrial oilfield services giant, with Simonelli as president and CEO.

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