Center for High-Performance Computing

bp’s Center for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) in Houston has one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers for commercial research, which we have used to make historic breakthroughs in rock physics and advanced seismic imaging, allowing our teams to see deep into the Earth’s subsurface.

bp's Center for High-Performance Computing building located on the bp Westlake campus in Houston, TX, USA

Leader in digital innovation

Relying on a mix of engineers who maintain the computers and software developers who work with our businesses — the CHPC supports digital innovation across bp, especially in the areas of seismic technology, reservoir engineering, applied sciences and molecular biology.

The CHPC has enough computing power to perform 21 quadrillion operations per second. For perspective, the CHPC has the storage capacity of 90,000 512-gigabyte iPhones, meaning it can hold more than 3,000 times the amount of information in the US Library of Congress.

Since the early 2000s, bp geophysicists have used CHPC resources to design and optimize a range of seismic acquisition methods. Their work has made it much easier to get high-quality seismic data, helping us deliver faster and safer operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shadows of two people who are standing while working on computers in the Center for High-Performance Computing building on bp's Westlake campus in Houston, TX, USA

In 2021, bp geophysicist Joe Dellinger received the Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists for “significant contributions in developing the most effective methodology for seismic imaging with low and super low frequencies.” These innovations would not have been possible without the CHPC.

bp also leverages the CHPC in its partnerships with US Department of Energy National Laboratories, industry and academia to progress leading-edge technologies and the development of innovative solutions to subsurface, computer science and applied science problems faced by the energy industry.

A picture of a computer screen that's showing a seismic graph.

Mapping the Earth’s subsurface

Utilizing CHPC resources, our seismic imaging group developed a technology known as “deblending” to help process some of the more complex datasets we had acquired. We then shared this technology with bp vendors to enable its large-scale application across our portfolio.

In 2006 bp also invented and patented a computational technique for applying full waveform inversion (FWI) to industry-scale seismic datasets. While FWI had been used in academic research, it had never been used at scale due to the enormous computational demands. Our invention emerged from our seismic modeling expertise, underpinned by the CHPC.

Two people look through paperwork of charts, graphs and data at a desk.

Since then, several other experiments and improvements on our FWI code and acquisition methods have revolutionized how we image our vast resources in the Gulf of Mexico. In recent years, bp used advanced seismic imaging and the CHPC to discover 400 million additional barrels of oil in place at our Atlantis field and 1 billion additional barrels in place at our Thunder Horse field.

Looking ahead, bp will continue leveraging the CHPC to drive our resilient and focused hydrocarbon strategy, delivering safe wells through improved subsurface imaging. The CHPC will also underpin research efforts supporting bp’s net zero ambition, providing the platforms to model wind farm scenarios, carbon sequestration, lubricants, coolants and hydrogen.

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