Eni achieves breakthrough in oil & gas reservoir modeling with HPC4 supercomputer


Eni’s industry-leading HPC4 supercomputer, recently deployed in Eni’s Green Data Center facility, performed a breakthrough calculation, opening the path to a new era for reservoir engineering numerical modeling.

HPC4 executed 100,000 high-resolution reservoir model simulation runs, taking into account geological uncertainties, in a record time of 15 hours. In comparison, most reservoir engineers in the industry can run just one single simulation run in a few hours with CPU-based hardware and software.

The calculation was performed using the full capacity of the new hybrid HPC cluster equipped with 3200 Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) and Stone Ridge Technology’s ECHELON reservoir simulation software.  ECHELON is high-performance NVIDIA GPU-based petroleum reservoir simulation software. A high-resolution model of a deep-water reservoir, with 5.7 million active cells, was executed with 100,000 different geological realizations, each one running on a single NVIDIA Tesla GPU in an average time of 28 minutes to simulate 15 years of production.

The path opened by this technology is a key and integral part of Eni’s digital strategy and transformation. This run is not only proof of computing power, but also the first practical step to provide all of Eni’s reservoir engineers access to a powerful processing tool for more accurately quantifying subsurface uncertainty and continually incorporating data into ‘live’ models on operating assets. It will further enhance Eni’s capability to accelerate the time-to-market of projects and deliver outstanding reservoir management strategies for all producing fields.

Eni’s Green data Center’s hybrid supercomputers (HPC 3 and HPC4) have a peak performance capacity of 22.4 PetaFlop/s and provide strategic support to the company’s digital transformation process across the entire value chain, from the exploration and development of oil and gas reservoirs, to the management of the big data generated in the operational phase by all of the company’s assets.


Minimizing Financial, Environmental Risk

Much is at stake for oil companies seeking to responsibly tap new reservoirs or reassess production stage fields at the least financial and environmental risk. Drilling can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. After locating hydrocarbons, quickly determining the most profitable strategies for new or ongoing production matters. For this task oil companies use reservoir simulators.

These reservoir simulators are technical software applications that model how hydrocarbons and water flow under the ground in the presence of wells. They let oil companies such as Eni evaluate virtual production strategies and “what-if” scenarios on supercomputers before committing to a new project as well as readjusting their models on production wells in the real world.

Simulators traditionally run on CPU-based hardware and are limited in both  performance and in the size of the models. It’s not uncommon to have models that take days to run. To improve the odds of hitting production targets, the energy giants are increasingly turning to higher-resolution models and faster software powered by NVIDIA GPUs.

“Stone Ridge was an early adopter of NVIDIA GPUs for high-performance computing and we built ECHELON from the ground up to exploit the technology.” said Vincent Natoli, founder and president of Stone Ridge.  “We see the benefit of that choice now as ECHELON has become faster and more capable with each generation of NVIDIA product. We significantly outpace our CPU-based competitors in both performance and scalability and each year the gap has become more pronounced.”

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