Smarter Natural Resources - overview


Brazil is a country rich in natural resources. Some are visible and well-known:

  • 100 billions of barrel of oil equivalent (BOE)
  • Estimated reserves of iron ore totaling 48 billion tons
  • 22 percent of the total arable land on the planet, and 15 percent of the Earth’s total potable water, to name a few.

And Brazil’s vegetable coverage and corresponding fauna creates a biodiversity unique to anywhere else in the world.

Additional discoveries have been made, indicating that there are other sources of natural richness beyond what is already known. Among these is the discovery off Brazil’s coastline, of large petroleum reserves located deep under water and below thick salt rocks (pre-salt sediments). The technological challenges presented by such discoveries must be balanced against the need to protect the sustainability of the oceans, land and populations surrounding these new areas of exploration.

IBM Research – Brazil is dedicated to providing expertise and assets to create effective and intelligent natural resources management capabilities that can maximize the sustainability of the resources industry, the environment and the quality of life.

gis modeling

Globally, the natural resources industry is currently worth US$7T and continues to grow with the growth of population and expansion of global economies.

IBM Research has taken on the mission of driving innovation in there major transformational plays in natural resources:

1. Business innovation: We will leverage IBM’s strengths in Computational Geosciences, integrated operations, high performance computing, and streaming analytics as a foundation to develop new exploration technologies to improve spatial-temporal modeling and seismic imaging to locate new reserves, as well as new mathematical algorithms and modeling ideas for enhanced recovery and production.

2. Analytics and optimization: IBM Research’s unparalleled predictive analytic capabilities will help us collect data to effectively analyze current conditions and forecast future events in areas such as asset management. Applying analytics and optimization techniques to field planning and development can help maximize natural resource recovery through forecasting systemic changes and implementing responses based on those insights.

3. Information management: By better integrating and analyzing the proliferation of data gathered from instrumented facilities, fields and sensors, we can help clients improve their production operations, and develop enhanced information integration and management capabilities to help them simplify their complex IT information management environments.

In Brazil, our main focus is on oil & gas, biofuels, mining, and water. In oil & gas we have a special focus on the sustainability and safety of the pre-salt exploration and production. One of the biggest challenges in pre-salt exploration is related to the geological complexity of the environment where the oil and gas wells are located. Understanding and exploring the most efficient use scenarios in this new environment is strongly dependent on massive data gathering and management, imaging, model development, robust mathematical modeling and scalable simulation, as well as proper visualization.

The main areas where we will concentrate our efforts include:

Natural Resources Data-driven Analytics: Our mission is to develop cutting-edge research in data-driven analytics to help develop new technologies that can help in the decision making processes in smarter natural resources discovery and exploration.

Computational Geosciences (physically-driven Analytics): Large-scale basin modeling, inversion methods and data assimilation, seismic imaging, and highly scalable reservoir simulation are among the techniques we will use to help develop a better understanding of these complex elements.

Natural Resources Optimization under Uncertainty: Over the past few years, the exploration and discovery of natural resources globally have experienced increasing pressures in terms of declining margins, complex technical challenges and ever-changing social, environmental and economic requirements.

Natural Resources Software Technology: In this area, our mission is to investigate new conceptual models and technologies to support software-intensive systems in Natural Resources. The ultimate goal is to devise new software technologies capable of enabling the development and integration of advanced applications, and speeding up the replication of successful solutions in discovery, exploration and production of natural resources.