Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing gas exploration and production – Wprost

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing gas exploration and production – Wprost


Smart Field – a project created by Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo – takes the exploitation of natural gas and crude oil to a new level. It is the result of using the knowledge and experience of many years of the Company’s experts together with ambitious goals related to the energy transition and the development of its foreign operations.

The tool enables a very accurate and detailed overview of the production system – from the deposit to the transmission system. Using advanced solutions, including artificial intelligence, machine learning or cloud computing creates different types of drilling work. The information provided in this way makes it possible to choose the best production conditions – taking into account the maximum increase in the amount of hydrocarbons obtained, while maintaining the profitability of the project. In this case, the return on investment is related to the reduction of environmental impact. Increased productivity
and shorter operating times as well as better shelf life translate into less greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The project started in 2021 is another step in the Company’s efforts to improve one of the important areas of its business activities. PGNiG initiated the process of digitizing hydrocarbon exploration and production in 2019 by launching the Digital Platform. It is a platform that combines the work of experts from various fields related to the extraction of natural gas and crude oil in one model. Smart Field develops this concept by combining solutions used so far by PGNiG and technologies provided by partners.

Based on the prediction of hydrocarbon production parameters and the goal established by the different works, the program adjusts the specific assumptions and technical requirements, providing data allowing to evaluate the efficiency of the proposed extraction strategies. A very important feature that enables the implementation of the entire process is the availability of cloud computing. Data incl. in the form of satellite images, they require a large amount of disk space, up to 5PB (pet bytes), which corresponds to a memory of about 150,000. 32 GB mobile phones. Thanks to the cooperation with the National Cloud Operator, the works carried out under the Smart Field project are supported by unlimited resources and computing power.

The advantage of the tool used by PGNiG is its versatility and mobility. A business plan, adopted and implemented effectively in one trust, can be transferred to another in a very short time. In addition, the location of all functions in the cloud allows them to be used not only in the country, but also in remote areas – from Northern Europe to the Middle East.

The project has already completed its first implementation in real natural gas and crude oil deposits. The first was related to the intensification of hydrocarbon extraction and the use of irrigation. The task here was to determine the optimal amount of water when maximizing yield. Thanks to Smart Field, extraction from the Barnówko-Mostno-Buszewo field has increased by several billion cubic meters of gas and several million cubic meters of crude oil over the next 20 years.

Smart Field was also used in the Kościan-Brońsko Natural Gas Mine. In this case, PGNiG built and integrated digital models of the two fields, including wells, gas pipelines and surface installations. The analysis and simulations carried out allowed the selection of one of the variants of the development of the deposit, including the location of the new wells – Brońsko-31H and Brońsko-32, located in the district of Śmigiel. According to forecasts, due to the solutions used, the production of natural gas in the Kościan-Brońsko mine will increase by 120 million cubic meters annually in the coming years.

Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo will implement the innovation, also in cooperation with external bodies, including the Qatari company Black Cat Engineering & Construction. It deals with the construction of infrastructure for transportation and storage of hydrocarbons. In September 2021, the companies signed a letter of intent regarding cooperation in operational tasks. The use of Smart Field is to be part of a potential offer.

The visible increase in the amount of hydrocarbons found is the best proof of the role that the digital PGNiG project will play in the development of exploration and production processes. In 2019, the amount of renewable natural gas resources reached 1.85 billion cubic meters, and in 2021 it reached 5.56 billion cubic meters. Experts from PGNiG indicate that this number will increase by another 2 billion by the end of this year.

Considering the current geopolitical situation and the priority of national energy security for the Polish Oil and Gas Industry, the Smart Field project is not only a digital revolution. It is also an important aspect of the process of independence from raw materials from the East.