Oil Giant Launches Supercomputer to Analyze Subsoil Data

The Italian multinational oil giant Eni deployed a 18.6 petaflops GPU-accelerated supercomputer, making it the most powerful industrial system in the world.

Located outside Milan, the new HPC4 machine will scan for oil and gas reservoirs deep below the Earth.

“This is where the company’s heart is, where we hold our most delicate data and proprietary technology,” Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi said in an interview on Thursday.

The 1600-node supercomputer is equipped with NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs  and combined with ENI’s other large 3.8-petaflop HPC3 supercompuer, brings the company’s computational power to 22.4 petaflops.

HPC4 will be used to run the Eni’s in-house software that performs 3D seismic imaging, petroleum system modeling, reservoir simulation, and production plant optimization. It will also be used for predictive analytics associated with the company’s business activities. According to Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, the new system will make it easier to process the huge quantities of data Eni has collected for geophysical imaging and to perform more accurate modeling of its oil and gas reservoirs.

“The time for analysis for exploration prospects these days, using current supercomputing power, is weeks,” said Jason Kenney, an analyst at Banco Santander SA in London. It took “months a few years ago, and many, many months a decade ago.”

According to the latest official Top 500 supercomputers list published last November (the next list is due to be published in June 2018), Eni’s HPC4 is the only non-governmental and non-institutional system ranking among the top ten most powerful systems in the world.

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