The investment, BP confirmed, will support its ongoing work to explore the use of machine learning and cognitive computing across its global oil and gas operations.
Previous investments by BP have focused on cognitive computing, including $20 million (£15.2 million) in Series B funding in another AI firm, Beyond Limits. That investment is enabling the firm to deploy AI technology used in offshore exploration.
Belmont Technology has developed a cloud-based geoscience platform using AI. The platform has a number of unique capabilities, including specially-designed ‘knowledge-graphs’.
Using this, experts feed the platform geology, geophysics, reservoir and historic project information, which is then linked together to identify new connections and workflows; creating a robust knowledge-graph of BP’s subsurface assets.
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Users can also receive detailed insights through Belmont’s AI technology, which includes asking specific questions in natural language. The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform simulations.
The technology could result in a 90% time reduction for data collection, interpretation and simulation. Belmont’s scalable knowledge-graphs can also be interrogated by Beyond Limits’ technology to provide new, detailed insights.
David Eyton, BP’s group head of technology, said: “This AI-based platform, which we’ve nicknamed Sandy, is expected to unlock critical data for our subsurface engineers at a much-accelerated pace.
“This investment helps drive forward our digital strategy and further underpins our Upstream operations with cutting edge technology.”
Following BP’s investment, Belmont Technology will expand its workforce, continue to develop Sandy’s capabilities and accelerate the deployment of the AI tech.
Belmont Technology CEO, Jean-Marie Laigle, said: “We are extremely honoured to welcome BP as an investor as it is a validation of our approach and technology. We are excited by the prospect of deploying a cutting-edge cognitive AI solution within BP.
“Our technology enables real-time thinking for subsurface engineers, helping transform the way teams work, analyse data, understand situations and generate novel ideas.”