Norwegian oil services firm Applied Petroleum Technology (APT) plans to develop artificial intelligence (AI) solution to support offshore oil and gas drilling efforts.

Supported by a NOK5.5m ($621,879) grant from the Norwegian Research Council, the development of the AI solution will help oil companies use biostratigraphic services to plan drilling programmes and assess hydrocarbon wells.

The method of biostratigraphy, which involves the dating of rocks supported by fossils, is obligatory for all exploration wells drilled on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Companies use this method to analyse subsurface geology and to correlate sections in wells, APT said.

However, oil firms still manually conduct the study of microfossils and other organic matter from well cuttings and core samples, using microscopes to quantitatively determine the microfossil content in each sample.

APT will develop AI technique and associated software

The latest project will see the development of an image digitalisation and AI technique and associated software aimed to modernise and improve microscopic analysis to find, identify and quantify the fossil content.

APT AI project, project manager and palynologist Thomas Løkken Rustad said: “With our new image recognition technology and AI-driven analysis method, we can significantly decrease the time used for analyses and obtain data at a more statistically accurate level through mitigating human inconsistencies and biases.

“Overall, this will allow us to provide even faster and better decision support to oil companies’ exploration and drilling teams.”

Rustad noted that the AI software would localise and quantify the fossil content, thus reducing turnover time and increase quality and capacity.

APT provides operators with geochemical and biostratigraphic laboratory services, basin modelling and petroleum systems analysis.