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    Total Uses Brute Force on Upstream Data


The French energy firm's new super-computer will quickly narrow down the range of devlopment options before the first well is drilled.

by: William Powell

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Total Uses Brute Force on Upstream Data

French major Total has a new tool developed by US IBM to crack open the hydrocarbon secrets of the earth's crust: Pangea III, a world-beating supercomputer. It can multiply the company's computing power by almost five times, to 31.7 petaflops – equivalent to 170,000 laptops combined – and triple its storage capacity to 76 petabytes, which is equivalent to about 50mn high-definition movies, Total said June 18. 

Higher resolution will enable Pangea III to penetrate complex reservoirs quickly and it will be useful too off Brazil, in analysis of the huge pre-salt oil and gas reserves. It will also be used to assess the likely value of assets in the mergers and aquisitions sector, it said. But it will also have above-ground applications useful to a global energy company, such as optimising refinery processes and the more routine uses of digitalisation.

Pangea III’s capacity adds to its predecessors (Pangea I and II) and is now ranked the number 1 most powerful supercomputer in the industry, and the 11th most powerful computer globally, in public or private hands.

Upstream boss Arnaud Breuillac said the additional computing power "enables Total to reduce geological risks in exploration and development, accelerate project maturation and delivery, and increases the value of our assets through optimised field operations, with all this at a lower cost.” 

The new high performance computer enhances energy efficiency, dividing the power consumption per petaflop by 11 (1.5 MW for Pangea III versus 4.5 MW for Pangea I and II.