A UK-based oil exploration firm has chosen an IBM Linux supercomputer to power its sophisticated seismic imaging system.
Taking in a cluster of 256 IBM eServer xSeries systems all running Linux and each powered by two 1Ghz Intel Pentium III processors, the supercomputer will power WesternGeco's seismic and other geophysical applications as a critical part of its exploration initiatives.
IBM said the system at WesternGeco has been installed and has begun production workloads.
Dave Gelardi, director of high-performance computing, e-servers, at IBM, said it is a lot easier to find oil on a computer than drilling holes in the ground. He explained that oil companies gather massive amounts of data that need to be analysed.
Gelardi said IBM is typically taking the e-servers and building them in clusters, helping customers to integrate where appropriate, an environment where they can run their applications.
Because of the new type of supercomputer, IBM said more companies like WesternGeco and Shell are turning to seismic imaging which allows scientists to create detailed 3D maps of hidden oil and gas reservoirs before drilling starts.
Trevor Gatus, Houston land manager, WesternGeco, said the use of IBM systems running Linux has greatly expanded the company's ability to evaluate potential drill sites. "We are able to complete jobs that once took eight weeks in three, increasing our turnaround time by a factor of two."
Shell International in the Netherlands last year said it would work with IBM to develop and deploy the largest Linux supercomputer. That system will be made up of 1024 IBM xSeries servers, packaged in 32 racks, all running Linux.
Headquartered in London, WesternGeco is an integrated exploration and reservoir imaging services company that provides seismic acquisition, processing and multiclient surveys.
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