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The Business Case for Exascale in Seismic Exploration

Geert Wenes, Sr. Practice Leader at Cray

Geert Wenes, Sr. Practice Leader at Cray

Over at the Cray Blog, Geert Wenes writes that the business case for exascale in Oil & Gas is extremely compelling.

Not all that far behind the DOE in pursuing exascale computing — and possibly one of the greatest benefactors of the effort — is a major commercial segment (and voracious consumer of data and processing capabilities): integrated oil and gas (O&G) companies (IOCs), especially those with a substantial presence in the Gulf of Mexico. The business case for exascale in O&G is extremely compelling, and — as anyone who has read Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize” will appreciate — goes to the very core of why IOCs exist. In the search for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico — one of the richest hydrocarbon basins in the world that continues to reinvent itself for exploration plays — the biggest prizes lie in ultra-deep water. In a deeply submerged area about 300 miles southwest of New Orleans and extending into Mexico waters, rock formations from the Paleogene period, also known as the Lower Tertiary, represent the leading edge of deep-water oil discovery. Down there (in fact, over 30,000 feet down there), the rocks are hot and the oil-bearing sands are high-pressure reservoirs buried under very thick salt and possibly sub-basalt layers.

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