The oil and gas industry is in the midst of large-scale digital transformation. Today’s leading petroleum producers, for example, are increasingly relying on cutting-edge technology to find the best places to drill, optimize existing wells, and communicate and collaborate more effectively across their operations.

Recently, Daqing Oilfield—a massive oilfield in northeastern China—partnered with Huawei, a leading global information and communication technology firm, to streamline oil production through the use of seismic exploration technology, digital simulations, and a high-speed network capable of delivering the bandwidth needed to make it all happen.

Before we look at how Daqing and Huawei are working together to strengthen the Chinese oil industry, let’s take a step back and briefly examine the oilfield’s history.

Striking ‘black gold’

For more than 60 years, oil has flowed out of the Daqing Oilfield. The discovery of “black gold” at the Songliao Basin back in September 1959 transformed the Chinese oil industry, enabling China to essentially become a self-sufficient supplier of oil. To date, the oilfield has produced upwards of 2.4 billion tons of crude oil, including a 27-year stretch of producing 50 million tons of crude oil annually.

While the oilfield has continued to produce substantial volumes of crude oil, Daqing—like all other oil producers—was facing an increasing number of challenges in today’s rapidly evolving environment. To increase production and drive profitability, the oilfield has been focusing on improving efficiency and reducing costs to drive profitability. At the same time, Daqing was also facing reserve replacement difficulties and challenging production requirements.

To overcome these obstacles, Daqing planned to increase seismic exploration—an extremely data-intensive undertaking. Unfortunately, like many other well-established organizations, Daqing found itself dealing with an all-too-familiar scenario: The reservoir exploration information system they relied on was outdated—to the point poor performance caused computing tasks to stretch on for months.

To solve these issues and accelerate oil production, Daqing joined forces with Huawei and deployed a robust cloud-based infrastructure that delivered the speed, bandwidth, and security the leading petroleum producer needed to overcome the challenges they faced.

Spearheading innovation with lightning-fast connectivity

Increasing seismic exploration precision starts with technology that can support massive data and processing requirements. After all, seismic data is about as multi-faceted and complex as it gets.

To obtain data, engineers have to use things like explosives to cause the earth’s crust to vibrate. Once that happens, the resulting seismic waves are then reflected or refracted and ultimately received by geophones. The corresponding data enables operators to better understand geological structures, which makes it possible to discover new oil reservoirs more efficiently.

Doing these kinds of complex calculations requires an incredibly data-intensive process. To speed up performance and processing capabilities, Huawei helped Daqing build a dedicated cloud data center, complete with an HPC cluster capable of high-performance computing and seismic data interpretation and 700 servers, storage systems, and network devices. Not only can the data center support 400 Gbit/s of bandwidth internally, employees out in the field can connect to it through 100 Gbit/s high-bandwidth private lines that ensure the oilfield’s sensitive data remains protected.

As a result of this decision, Daqing’s computing efficiency went through the roof, growing from 120 trillion times per second to 1,000 trillion times per second, an uptick of 833 percent. What’s more, Daqing also shortened its resource provisioning timetable from three days to three hours.

Looking ahead

The decision to partner with Huawei proved to be a wise one for Daqing. In addition to a highly performant, highly secure, and highly available data center core powering their operations, Daqing is also leveraging Huawei’s AI and big data analytics solutions. In turn, this enabled them to build an intelligent seismic processing and interpretation center which helps them in their quest to find new oil reserves.

Further, Daqing is using Huawei’s AI solutions to develop a knowledge-driven neural network to aid in oil, gas, and water bed forecasting. As more deep learning occurs over time, Daqing expects this technology to increase its analytical capabilities and become even more precise. Currently, Huawei’s AI is enabling Daqing to rapidly analyze 10 petabytes of historical data to uncover more information and make better decisions in less time—which enables them to stay on the forefront of the oil and gas industry for years to come.

Daqing is among many technology adopters who vastly improve the performance with Huawei’s innovations. More of these breakthroughs, particularly amid the inevitable digital transformation, were discussed in HUAWEI CONNECT which took place from September 23 to 26 in Shanghai. Industrial elite, sector leaders, top engineers and developers, clients and partners shared their insights and experience in this fifth annual event of the tech giant. For more information, check this out.