BP’s digital rockery and the Australian National University.

One micron resolution X-Ray scanner enables virtual core analysis.

In an online video, BP petrophysicist Dmitry Lakshtanov explains how BP obtains numerical rocks for use in reservoir studies. In a laid-back but informative presentation, Lakshtanov shows how rock samples are characterized so that ‘experiments’ can be conducted on a digital proxy model. Conventional analysis of a real core can take six months or more. With a supercomputer, digital flow experiments can be carried out ‘in weeks.’ But first you need your digital rock. This is obtained with BP’s in-house ‘proprietary’ scanning technology which, according to Lakshtanov, is ‘among the best in the business.’

While the accompanying article from Upstream Technology acknowledges that a ‘strategic partner’ helped develop the custom micro CT imaging system, BP is not saying who this was. However, the roll call of the Australian National University’s DigiCore consortium includes BP and the Heliscan CT scanner looks suspiciously like the one in the BP video and has an identical 1 micron resolution. The university sold its digital rock technology earlier this year to FEI for $68 million in what was described as ‘one of the most significant commercialisation outcomes of the University.’ Watch the BP video. More from the consortium and from FEI.

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